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A Drug Screening Platform to Increase Protein Expression Levels for Treatment of Neurological Disorders

Principal Investigator:
  • Brian Chen, McGill University
  • CQDM
  • McGill University
  • Weston Foundation

Project Overview

Neurological and psychiatric diseases and disorders affect more than half the population. These disorders of the nervous system can span a range of illnesses, including generalized anxiety disorders, mood disorders, autism, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Together these illnesses cause a yearly economic burden of more than CAD$100 billion in health care costs, lost productivity, and reductions in health-related quality of life. Many of these neurological diseases are caused by too little or too much protein expression of a gene. For this project, Dr. Chen and his team will develop a high-throughput drug screening platform to identify molecules that increase the protein expression for specific genes associated with autism spectrum disorders, manic disorders, Parkinson’s disease, and stress, depression and anxiety. They have recently developed a technology called Protein Quantitation Ratioing (PQR) to measure protein production of any gene over time in single cells in vivo and have used this technology to read-out protein synthesis in single cells over time of a wide variety of genes in many genomes, including in human cells. Using this new PQR technology, they will develop a cell assay for drug screening where they monitor protein expression of the target gene along with the protein expression of a control gene.