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Focus on illness that affects one million Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

DANVILLE, PA – Geisinger investigator Janet Robishaw, Ph.D., has received a $1.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a key signaling pathway that is dysfunctional in Parkinson’s disease.

In the United States alone, this disorder affects one million patients who experience a host of motor symptoms, including tremor, general reduction voluntary movements (bradykinesia), and rigidity.

For Parkinson’s patients and their families, the quality of life is greatly reduced and the economic impact is estimated at $25 billion per year. Current treatment options show limited effectiveness. Although dopamine replacement therapy improves the motor symptoms, prolonged treatment often produces uncontrolled movements (dyskinesia) and altered intellectual functions.

By capitalizing on her discovery of a new mechanism to regulate movement, Dr. Robishaw said the goal of this study is to develop a more targeted, effective treatment for this debilitating disorder.

“Our finding also has important implications for treatment for learning disorders and addictive behaviors,” Dr. Robishaw, associate director and senior scientist at Geisinger Health System’s Weis Center for Research, said.

Identifying mechanism-based diagnoses and treatments represent dual goals of the precision medicine initiative instituted by the Geisinger learning health system to improve the overall health of affected patients.

About Geisinger

Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1.5 million consumers it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 13 hospital campuses, a 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With 32,000 employees and 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by billions of dollars annually. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.