Thursday, 17 March 2011

Sigma Life Science launches suite of knockout rats to model Parkinson’s disease

Sigma Life Science, the biological products and services research business of Sigma-Aldrich, announced that its SAGE Labs initiative has created a suite of knockout rat models of Parkinson’s disease in collaboration with The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF). Developed using the proprietary SAGEspeed model creation process, these off-the-shelf rat models represent a breakthrough in Parkinson’s disease research, overcoming the inherent limitations of the existing mouse models.

Knockout rat models offer significant advantages over the existing mouse models, which do not effectively mimic the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in humans. The neuronal circuitry of the rat model more closely imitates that of humans, better demonstrating the disease symptoms, and rats’ size and behaviour allow researchers to perform a variety of experimental procedures more easily than in mice. In collaboration with MJFF, SAGE Labs has used Sigma Life Science’s CompoZr Zinc Finger Nuclease (ZFN) technology to create a range of knockout rat models specific to Parkinson’s disease, based on existing knowledge of the key genes implicated in the disease. This groundbreaking collection of rat models currently includes LRRK2, Parkin, Pink1 and DJ-1 knockouts which will help researchers accelerate investigation of novel therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease.

“This collaboration with The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research highlights the enormous potential of our CompoZr and SAGEspeed technology platforms, and displays our commitment to providing the scientific community with tools for cutting-edge research into diseases that afflict the human population,” said Dr Edward Weinstein, Director of SAGE Labs at Sigma Life Science.