Bev’s story: Listen to Bev’s 6-minute video
The BHHDF donated research funds to GlycoScience and here is an update:
I have been meaning to update you on our progress but we’ve been busy! Your funds have really moved this project forward. With $100k we were able to get started on the pharmaceutical grade manufacturing with the GEAR (Graduate Education and Research) Center in Sioux Falls. They were able to match the amount with $100k and have hired a PhD researcher, Dr. Aaron Harmon, who is in charge of the start-up manufacturing process. We have known him since he was in graduate school and are very fortunate to have a researcher of his caliber on the project. We have biweekly meetings with Dr. Harmon and his team members, including Dr. Foss, Quality Control and Quality Assurance, and other researchers. Their goal is to have the first lot of GM1 in the bottle later this fall.
The other $50k has gone to the GlycoScience Research lab at the Research Park in Brookings. Again we were able to use the funds to obtain another $10k in matching funds from a South Dakota Community Foundation Innovation Grant. The lab at the Research Park has opened doors and has allowed for networking opportunities that have moved the project forward. Thus far, with the help of a summer intern, we have been able to extract DNA from sheep blood samples and genotype over 2000 lambs to identify the lambs that are a rich source of GM1. Once tissues from these lambs are processed the GEAR center will extract and purify the GM1 to use when we are able to move into clinical trials.
Additionally, we have started working with Dr. Gary Dunbar at Central Michigan University. Dr. Dunbar has done GM1 research for over 30 years. He worked with Fidia, the Italian company that started with the cow source of GM1. He is a strong believer in the potential therapeutic benefits of GM1. He is also connected with the HD community in Michigan and shares our motivation to help HD patients and their families.