Over the years, donors, riders, walkers, volunteers, and sponsors of the Pedal with Pete Foundation have raised over one million dollars to fund promising clinical research through our grants to research centers around the world, including Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and the Case Western University in cooperation with the Cleveland Clinic.  See our list of previous grant recipients for a complete list of grants we’ve funded since the 1990’s to now.

Each spring the Foundation receives a number of research proposals from the American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM). These proposals are reviewed by the Foundation’s Cerebral Palsy Research Team, who make a recommendation to the Foundation’s Board of Directors of which projects to fund. The final decision about which projects to fund is made by the Board in June or July. Each of the projects are funded at a level between $25,000 and $35,000. Most of these research projects are seed research projects which typically lead to followup projects for further research. Such funding is scarce yet critical to the research process. A sumary of the results of prior research projects funded through the AACPDM can be reviewed by clicking on the following link: Summary of Prior AACPDM Funded Research.

Thanks to your support the Pedal with Pete Foundation is recognized internationally as a discerning, consistent funder for this important phase of cerebral palsy research.

As of September 30th, 2020 we have made a grant for the following research project:

2020, July | BI-UPCAT: BIlateral UPper-limb Children Action observation Training for children with bilateral cerebral palsy (AACPDM) Guiseppina Sgandurra, MD, PhD, principal investigator | University of Pisa and IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris

Research GoalWhy is this Research Important?
Develop customized home-based physical therapy for children with bilateral Cerebral Palsy using a tele-health system to promote bimanual hand function. This program is based on "observe an action, then execute the same action" which has shown great promise for unilateral CP. The upper limb function of children with Bi-CP is compromised at various degrees of motor impairment and is further complicated by deficits in perceptual and cognitive skills, such as visuo-spatial, sensory-motor, attention and executive functions. This complexity needs to be comprehensively assessed for tailoring upper limb interventions for children with Bi-CP.Action Observation Training (AOT), is a rehabilitative approach that has been used with promising results on the Upper Limb function in children with unilateral Cerebral Palsy (CP) but it has not been used on children with bilateral CP. The positive outcomes with unilateral CP children make it an important therapy to explore further. Limited hand function restricts participation in daily life. It will increase the accessibility of personalized tele-rehabilitation treatment to a large number of CP children.

In addition to funding a traditional seed research grant, the Foundation funded a one-time $15,000 local community grant. The local grant aids Ohio families taking care of CP persons for whom the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant economic impact. This grant is administered by Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

During our 2019 grant-making cycle we made grants for three worthy research projects:

2019, July | MicroRNAs in Magnesium-Mediated Neuroprotection (AACPDM)  Maria Dizon, MD, Principal Investigator and Ann & Robert H. Lurie | Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Research ObservationWhy is this Research Important?
Preterm babies are at greater risk for cerebral palsy. Administration of magnesium sulfate has a preventative effect on preterm labor. Magnesium affects production of microRNAs which are critical for the development of the cells that make myelin/white matter in the brain.If patients with or at risk for cerebral palsy have different microRNAs than healthy individuals, microRNAs could be used for early detection. Knowing the difference in microRNAs between healthy and afflicted patients could allow treatment with microRNAs that promote myelin/white matter development.
Research Questions
• What microRNAs are found in prematurely born babies?
• Are the kinds of microRNAs found in premature babies, who later develop cerebral palsy, different from those who do not develop this disease?
• Are the microRNAs different in premature babies whose mothers were given magnesium sulfate?

2019, July | Use of Collagenase Clostridium Histolyticum to Decrease Muscle Fibre Bundle Stiffness in Cerebral Palsy (AACPDM)
Jason J. Howard, MD | Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Research ObservationWhy is this Research Important?
Muscle stiffness in cerebral palsy has been associated with an increase in collagen in the space between muscle cells.If collagenase injections reduce stiffness, the need for surgical intervention to achieve the same outcome may be reduced.
Research Questions
• Can injections of collagenase reduce the amount of muscle stiffness?

2019, July | Reversal of Aged Muscle Stem Cell Dysfunction in Contractured Muscle from Cerebral Palsy (AACPDM)
Andrea Domenighetti, MD, Principal Investigator | Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

Research ObservationWhy is this Research Important?
Muscle cells in patients with cerebral palsy age prematurely.Many treatments for cerebral palsy rely on exercise and surgery. This research approach could reveal a new treatment option with a drug that may reverse some of the effects of cerebral palsy.
Research Questions
• Is the DNA in these muscle cells modified and is that the cause of aging?
• If the DNA is modified, can the drug 5-azacytidine be repurposed to reverse the aging, therefore encouraging muscle growth?

All this research you fund helps kick off ground-breaking work that can lead to treatments and quality-of-life changes that allow children and adults with CP to better reach their full potential. Thank you so much for your support!