Main Mission : The McGeer and Associates team brings together expertise in molecular biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, tissue culture, proteomics, and pathology to investigate neurodegenerative diseases and to identify new therapeutic agents. The dominant mission is to eliminate Alzheimer disease and Parkinson disease. Since relatively simple biochemical abnormalities have been identified that characterize both diseases, it can confidently be predicted that they will eventually be as rare as polio is today. In the case of Alzheimer disease, it is a failure to metabolize properly a small peptide known as beta-amyloid protein. In the case of Parkinson disease, it is a failure to metabolize properly a small protein known as alpha synuclein. The urgency of this mission is dictated by the soaring social and financial costs of patient care.
Ancillary Missions: These involve investigating less common neurodegenerative disorders, including the mysterious illness of Guam which can combine the symptoms and lesions of Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease and ALS.
Overarching Mission : This is to investigate the neuroinflammation which is common to all the neurodegenerative disorders. While neuroinflammation is a downstream phenomenon, effective antiinflammatory agents should have broad spectrum applications.
The brain bank: A key asset is the large brain bank that has been assembled by the McGeers over the last 25 years. It includes cases with many neurological disorders and is available not just to the McGeer team but to other laboratories engaged in similar missions.