On behalf of The Will Herndon Fund, Will, along with his mother, Missy, presents a $1.75 Million grant to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital to continue their research into finding a cure and treatment for juvenile Batten disease.
THANK YOU WILL HERNDON FUND SUPPORTERS
FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE!
The $1.75 million dollars represents a three year grant to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute. This follows the $2.5 million dollar donation from Jim and Cherie Flores and Beyond Batten Disease Foundation in 2009. These grants, totaling $4.2 million dollars, are the largest investment ever made by a nonprofit in the history of Batten disease research.
The original funds established laboratories for Italian researchers, Drs. Ballabio, Sardiello and their colleagues at the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute of Texas Children’s Hospital to study Batten disease.
The researchers have identified six potential drug compounds that are currently in testing.
The $1.75 million committed by the foundation will allow the researchers to explore whether the pharmacological activation of TFEB can be used to activate the lysosomal system and to promote cellular clearance in JNCL, which in turn will slow disease progression. Drs Ballabio and Sardiello will use these funds to:
- Validate these drug targets
- Screen thousands of compounds for their ability to reach and activate these targets
- Explore the effects of the most promising compounds on the health of juvenile Batten mouse models
- Explore the effects of the most promising compounds on juvenile Batten iPS cells; the first human brain cell model for juvenile Batten disease
- Continue their search for the reason why the loss of CLN3 protein causes juvenile Batten disease. The goal is to ultimately take these drugs through the clinical trial phase of discovery and successfully produce a life-saving treatment.