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In 2010, the University of Notre Dame and the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation formed a partnership dedicated to finding a treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC).  Through this partnership the University and the Foundation jointly fundraise for NPC research and support the administration of grants, internally and externally, to researchers around the globe.

Now, the University is poised to launch the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund that will take on the roles and responsibilities of the Foundation and drive the Foundation’s fundraising and research efforts to find a cure.  The University is also pleased to announce Sean Kassen, PhD, as the new director of the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund.

Over the next 6 months (March 1, 2016 – October 1, 2016) the foundation will be moving all of these functions from the granting process, marketing/communication, and fundraising efforts to Notre Dame. 

Our joint success: 

As a result of the initial partnership in 2010, Notre Dame researchers established the William K. Warren Center for Drug Discovery and Development, a resource any member of the worldwide NPC research community may utilize for the design and synthesis of potential drug candidates. The Center enjoys multidisciplinary collaborations with Cornell, Columbia, Tufts, Washington University, and Texas Southwestern medical centers along with researchers at Purdue and Scripps Research Institute. Compounds produced in the Center are now under active investigation in all of these collaborators’ labs.  

With partnerships through the Boler-Parseghian Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases, there have been multiple studies funded to identify the molecular mechanisms behind NPC disease, develop new NPC disease models, identify novel techniques to better understand the disease, and support new young investigators to perform research on NPC disease.

We are proud to acknowledge that the University of Notre Dame and their collaborators have made tremendous progress against NPC. There are over eight faculty members at Notre Dame conducting NPC research, and they have developed a promising treatment discovered by medicinal chemistry Professor Paul Helquist and his collaborators. The treatment is currently undergoing FDA clinical trials.

With the ultimate goal of saving lives, Notre Dame will now take on this bold goal of finding a cure for NPC disease by creating the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund that will raise funds to sustain an energetic program of NPC research at Notre Dame and with collaborators worldwide.

We believe that this alliance will serve as a new and effective model for research on rare and neglected diseases.

Learn more about the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Foundation

Learn more about the Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases.