Researcher Gets Boost for Parkinson’s Research

March 7, 2014

Dr. Craig Cady is a professor of biology and the director of the stem cell research laboratory at Bradley.  This month, a local group called the Parkinson’s FundRACERS, led by Pekin residents Val and Don Bohlander, presented Dr. Cady a check for $25,000.  The funds will go towards lab supplies, chemicals, special stem cells, lab instruments, and support for students. 

Among other projects, Dr. Cady’s team is currently working on the creation of a material that will replace brain cells that have been damaged by Parkinson’s Disease.  “We grow stem cells and induce them to transform in to brain cells (neurons) that produce dopamine to replace the dopamine producing cells that die as a result of Parkinson's disease.  The concept is to replace damage brain cells with this material.”  This has potential application for many regenerative treatments from Parkinson's disease to heart disease.

The Bohlander’s group has donated $20,000 per year since 2009 to go towards this research.  Dr. Cady says without this type of support his research would not have progressed to this level.  “I'm tremendously grateful for the support certainly because it allows us to make progress towards a treatment but also and very importantly my students and myself have been overwhelmed by the support and respect we get from all those involved in the Bohlander organization.  This has allowed us to understand what Parkinson's patients and their families undergo in dealing with this disease it certainly motivates us to do our best.”

Last year Dr. Cady made headlines when he and his undergraduate students produced beating heart cells from iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells.  You can learn more about Dr. Cady and his research by clicking here:  http://www.bradley.edu/academic/departments/biology/