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  • Published: 07/17/2017

Heather Ludlam, a graduate of MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and Michael Ludlam, an alumnus from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources own a 50-acre farm in Hopkins that produces more than just food. They breed sheep with a specific genetic defect that creates an overabundance of GM1 ganglioside, a substance that could help treat neurological diseases in humans.  

GM1 ganglioside is a chemical that is found in the brain and is a normal part of the outer covering or membrane of nerve cells. It helps protect the brain and keeps cells healthy. By harvesting the substance, GM1 ganglioside, from the sheep and delivering it by either injection or inhalation, research has found it restores normal motor behavior in mice afflicted with Huntington’s. In the past, the substance has also played a role in treating diseases like Parkinson’s.

It has been estimated that one lamb could treat one patient for one year. The farm will be working with Harvard-Massachusetts General this summer to conduct preclinical trials with GM1 ganglioside.

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