Sure, you know Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and, thanks to last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge, you know ALS. But what about progressive supranuclear palsy? Corticobasal degeneration? Multiple system atrophy?
Didn’t think so. These diseases are often called “atypical Parkinsonian disorders,” and, in addition to being devastating, they’re extremely rare. So naturally, they have their own joint advocacy organization, called CurePSP, which tackles all three disorders listed above, plus anything else that fits, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-Parkinsonism-dementia complex of Guam and Guadeloupean tauopathy.
Sheesh. What a mouthful.
As much as we don’t like writing out all those tough-to-spell disorders, we do like talking about CurePSP as the innovative, groundbreaking parent organization that it is. Like other advocacy organizations invested in cranial matters (or in other words, the brain) it’s emphasizing basic science, and we think that’s smart.
In the brain realm, researchers and the philanthropies that fund them face two main roadblocks: one, there isn’t a ton known about the brain; and two, it’s devilishly difficult to attain any level of expertise or even proficiency in brain science, partly because what we know keeps changing. So philanthropies are left somewhat in the dark, without much understanding at all of what projects they should be funding or why. Enter another reason we like CurePSP: It's established a great Investigator-Initiated Research Project program, asking for brain researchers themselves to recommend their work for funding via this quick-moving RFP.
Perhaps as an indirect and unintended result of the Ice Bucket Challenge, CurePSP finds itself with a bit more money than it expected to have this year. Raising money and awareness for one neurological disorder often simultaneously boosts related neurological disorders, after all. “With an increased research budget made possible through improved donor support, CurePSP will be able to markedly intensify the efforts to cure the disease in a way that promises relief for those afflicted today as well as hope for those who may be afflicted tomorrow,” reads the website.
As a result, CurePSP is announcing four funding cycles for this grantmaking program. Deadlines are January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15, and the maximum amount awarded (which may be distributed over the course of up to three years) is $100,000. More information can be found here.