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. Today, Dr. Doug Martin and a team of Scott-RitcheyResearch 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 lateDr. 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. Sadly, Porter Heatherly died on Nov. 10, 2016,but the fight continues. Scientists believe they will be in clinical trials in 2017 with a treatment.
How can you help?
Make a donation to support GM1 research online through the Auburn University Foundation. Gifts given to support GM1 research will be designated to the “Martin Research Gift Account”.
Or, 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 GM1 Research
317 South College Street
Auburn, Alabama 36849