The Orphan Disease Center (ODC) at the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with the Loulou Foundation, is pleased to announce the 2021 CDKL5 Program of Excellence Pilot Grant Program. CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder (CDD) is a monogenic, neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by treatment-resistant epilepsy and severe neurodevelopmental delay. The disease is driven by the loss of a kinase called CDKL5 which is responsible for normal neuronal development, synapse formation and signal transmission. The mechanisms by which loss of CDKL5 expression leads to this CNS disorder remain unclear. The gene encoding this protein is located on the X chromosome, with heterozygous females primarily affected. The disease does not exhibit neurodegeneration, and animal models strongly suggest the potential for reversibility. There are no approved therapies and the current standard of care is not effective at managing seizures or improving neurodevelopmental or motor deficits.
We are seeking grant applications that progress the discovery or development of treatments and/or a cure for CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder. We recognize, however, that many gaps exist in the basic understanding of CDKL5 and its role in neurological development. Therefore, basic science projects that address these gaps are welcome, provided that they are tethered to the development of a potential therapy. The 2021 CDKL5 Pilot Grant Program Request for Applications (RFA) is attached. While the RFA is broad in scope, priority will be given to grants that cover the following areas:
- Novel therapeutic approaches for CDD
- Validation of phenotypes in CDKL5 function or disease pathophysiology
- Systems biology and computational modeling approaches
- Novel application of imaging and functional techniques
- Discovery and validation of CDKL5 biomarkers
Letters of Interest (LOIs) are due no later than FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2021, by 5pm EST. Grant criteria, the entire RFA, and additional program details can be found here.
If you are not directly interested in this pilot grant program, I am writing to ask that you please share these funding opportunities with those holding a faculty-level appointment in your department, or other faculty who may be interested in this area of research. All applicants must first submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to be reviewed for consideration of an invitation to submit a full application. LOIs are due no later than the date indicated above. Instructions for submitting the LOI, including how to upload the letter, are available in the attached RFA.
Director, Programs and Community Engagement | Orphan Disease Center
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania