June 9, 2011

Researchers compare notes on deadly nerve disease

Researchers from all over the world are meeting on Notre Dame's campus this week. The group is discussing developments in the research of Niemann-Pick Type C disease.

NPC is a genetic disorder that causes your nervous system to deteriorate, which eventually affects your ability to move, speak, and process information. FOX28 News sat down with some of those scientists to discuss the research they're doing and the progress they've made so far.

Biology Professor Kevin Vaughan says developing a counter to the disease begins with identifying what causes it in the first place. "Without knowing what the problem is, it's hard to design drugs specifically to overcome the problem," explains Vaughan.

Norb Wiech with pharmaceutical company Lysomics says they are in the preliminary stages with the FDA of testing a drug that may slow the deterioration process. "All these ideas can't come to be meaningful unless get the information or use the information to develop a drug to treat them," says Wiech.

Notre Dame is involved with this research through former coach Ara Parseghian, who lost three of his grandchildren to Niemann-Pick Type C. His family established the Parseghian Medical Research Foundation in 1994 in hopes of finding a cure for the fatal disease.

On Monday Notre Dame Dean Greg Crawford will start a 2200 bike ride from Boston to Dallas to spread awareness. We'll have more from them Friday night at 10.

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