The Scott-Ritchey Research Center
The Scott-Ritchey Research Center is an integral part of Auburn University and the College of Veterinary Medicine and for more than 30 years.
THIS IS HOPE FOR A CURE.
For decades, Scott-Ritchey researchers have sought a cure for GM1 gangliosidosis, a rare, neurodegenerative disease found in animals and humans. Dr. Doug Martin and a team of Scott-Ritchey Research Center scientists believe they are close to a treatment of the disease. His research, an extension of work that began by mentors Dr. Henry Baker and the late Dr. Nancy Cox, is a gene therapy to produce enzymes found missing in GM1 and Tay-Sachs-related diseases.
Martin and his team have successfully extended the life expectancy of cats by more than five times compared to non-treated GM1 cats with the use of gene therapy, a non-harmful viral vector to produce enzymes missing in GM1 and Tay-Sachs-related diseases.
The Tay-Sachs Gene Therapy Consortium, an international collaborative group of scientists committed to searching for a cure, have developed and tested the vector based on the adeno-associated virus (AAV). Now, the goal is human clinical trials, slated for next year. Read about the most recent research effort.
In 2013, Michael and Sara Heatherly, both Auburn alumni, received the devastating GM1 diagnosis for their son, Porter, at just four months old. Soon after, they learned of the ongoing research at Scott-Ritchey and believe that their Auburn Connection can be a lifesaving cure.
Porter’s 4th birthday is Sept. 14, 2016, and to honor it, a social media campaign — #CureGM1 — is being launched, spearheaded by Dr. Jim ’83 and Anne Gardner of Gardner Animal Clinic in Eufaula. The Gardners, through their love of animals, knew about GM1, but learned about Porter last year. They are enlisting veterinarians and animal clinics to support the research. Read about it.
How can you help?
Attend the Oct. 1 event celebrating Porter’s 4th birthday, with funds supporting GM1 research, held at the Auburn University Club, 5-9 p.m. Click here to purchase a ticket.
Make a donation through the Auburn University Foundation, print off the #CureGM1 flyer, take a photograph like the Gardners did, and email it to email@example.com. We will post it on our social media!
Give to GM1 online through the Auburn University Foundation. Gifts given to support GM1 research will be designated to the “Martin Research Gift Account”.
Gifts by mail should be made out to Auburn University Foundation and sent to the attention of:
Auburn University Foundation
Attn: Gift Processing
RE: Scott-Ritchey Research for Porter
317 South College Street
Auburn, Alabama 36849