Large-Scale Drug Screening for A-T

Dear Friends,

I hope you and your families are remaining safe as Covid continues to throw new challenges at us. While the pandemic has made funding and operating the A-T Children’s Project vastly more difficult, we’re continuing to drive forward innovative research, knowing that our kids will keep deteriorating a little bit each day until a treatment is found.

Today, I’m eager to share an uplifting story about an industrial scale research project that is within our reach because of the initiative and perseverance of the Graban family in Pennsylvania and the kindness of one of their friends. Dan and Michelle Graban, whose three-year-old son Connor has A-T, have been eager to contribute their energy to supporting A-T research. Fortuitously, they have a friend, Joelle Lucarell, who works for Charles River Laboratories (CRL), a global firm that provides numerous services to the pharmaceutical industry.

With Joelle as their champion, Dan and Michelle orchestrated discussions between the A-T Children’s Project and CRL that led to our designing a large-scale drug screening project that will test thousands of chemical compounds on cells obtained from children with A-T to identify drugs that have positive effects. Because a lot of research has already been performed on the compounds to be tested, the project could potentially leap-frog traditional drug development approaches, greatly accelerating the path to a new treatment in A-T kids. Really exciting!

But the Grabans weren’t done yet. Because the project would cost about $185,000 that the A-T Children’s Project simply didn’t have, Dan and Michelle started raising funds for the project from family and friends. In just a few short weeks they raised the first $100,000! Then, two days ago, Charles River Laboratories generously chipped in $40,000 towards the project’s budget.

We’re now looking to quickly close the $45,000 gap so that we can keep this momentum, call Charles River Laboratories, and tell them to proceed immediately with the project. We’ll be enormously grateful if you can help us deliver a storybook ending to the Grabans’ inspiring undertaking by making a donation.

All the best,


Brad Margus, Founder and A-T Father