S.T.A.D. MISSION STATEMENT
Science has made great strides forward and as a result applied fields, like Medicine, have managed to improve the quality and length of human life. Yet, we are constantly reminded of our limitations in solving complex medical problems for which our basic understanding is lacking. Medical diseases of great personal and public health burden include disorders that affect predominantly a particular body system (e.g. brain, cardiovascular, endocrine) or multiple parts of the body (e.g. cancer and chronic inflammation).
STAD aims to embrace fundamental discoveries that offer the potential to achieve better diagnoses and treatments of diseases lacking a cure. A research laboratory that has made a fundamental discovery that promises a new way of approaching a challenging problem will recruit other research laboratories using complementary approaches. Creation of the “best” working team will then advance the science to the next stage of development, along the path of producing effective treatments or cures for the disease. The STAD fund, under “The Community Foundation” based in the state of Virginia, will reach out to the entire globe to attract philanthropic support enabling the team to maintain a strong program that meets annual milestones. An advisory committee will oversee the activities of each team and approve annual disbursements of funds raised to support the work.
S.T.A.D. - Schizophrenia
The first project, which will also serve as a pilot for testing the STAD mechanism of funding science teams against a disease, will aim to develop drugs for diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia. A fundamental discovery made elucidated that some of the most effective drugs used currently as antipsychotics (atypical) work best not through one but through a complex of receptors that bind them (for details see under Research and Education). The study found that better behavioral outcomes can be accomplished in animal models of antipsychotic drug action, if both receptors are occupied by the appropriate drugs simultaneously, rather than targeting one or the other receptor alone. The results imply that drugs that bind specifically to this complex of receptors, in the part of the brain that the disease strikes, could be used both diagnostically and therapeutically, limiting the severe and frequent unwanted side effects. A team of leading scientists located in three universities across the United States has come together to explore the translational application of this discovery. The aim of this team will be two-fold: a) to design and test novel drugs that will specifically target the complexes of receptors involved in psychotic behavior and schizophrenia in particular (thus avoiding side-effects) and b) to use combinations of drugs targeting each of the receptors in the complex to optimize the function of the complex in patients resistant to current treatments. The STAD fund is aiming to raise $250,000 to launch the efforts of this dynamic group in 2014.