Finding a New Target for ET Therapy

Dr. Adrian Handforth, with VA Greater Los Angeles Health Systems, received his first IETF grant in 2011 for the project “Towards the Identification of the anti-tremor target of low-dose alcohol.” With that grant, Dr. Handforth identified an entire subclass of the delta GABA receptor (GABA is the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter). This year, with an additional $20,000 in IETF grant funding, Dr. Handforth seeks to determine whether any of these subclasses, found exclusively in the cerebellum of the brain, are capable of aiding in tremor suppression.

This research offers a critical step forward towards the long-term goal of finding a new therapy for ET. If researchers can determine which subunit of the delta GABA receptor allow for tremor suppression, the next step in the research would be to find a selective and potent activator that will “turn on” the tremor suppression effect. Such a medication is anticipated to the both effective and well-tolerated.

Based on initial study results, Dr. Handforth was able to obtain a 3-year VA (Veterans Association) research grant to replicate and expand on this important work.