Tallman Family Energizes Research to Help Alleviate Neuroinflammation in PD

L'Institut de recherche sur le cerveau

Par Natasha Hollywood

Program Manager, Brain and Mind Research Institute

Image of the Tallman family standing and smiling together. From left to right are; Don Tallman, Diana Tallman, Bev Tallman, and Gordon Tallman. Next to the photo, the Tallman Family Motto reads, "Many individuals can take a simple problem and make it complicated -- not many can take a complicated problem and make it simple."
“Many individuals can take a simple problem and make it complicated --- not many can take a complicated problem and make it simple.”  This is the motto of the Tallman family, one that they conveyed to the leaders of the Parkinson Research Consortium (PRC) upon their initial meeting. Gord, Bev, Don, and Diana Tallman’s interest was to fund Parkinson’s disease (PD) research in Ottawa. Hence they reached out to the PRC and its Co-Directors, Dr. David Grimes and Dr. Michael Schlossmacher via its Advisory Board.

The Tallman family has a long history of generosity through transformative philanthropy. When Don Tallman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2018, he and his wife Diana got involved in many fundraising activities in the greater Ottawa area.

Don’s brother and sister-in-law, Gordon and Bev Tallman, manage a wide-ranging, family-sponsored, annual donations program in Calgary. They were inspired by the collaborative efforts of the Ottawa area Parkinson’s research community to search for a way to bring innovative therapies to patients.

In a meeting with the scientific leadership of the PRC, the Tallman family expressed that their main goal was to support research designed to limit the progression of and/or find a cure for PD.  With their motto in mind, the Tallman family was presented with two new projects for consideration.  The family was excited by these and ultimately decided to support a promising research project aimed at alleviating neuroinflammation in PD, led by Drs. Michael Schlossmacher, David Grimes, and Tiago Mestre at the uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute and The Ottawa Hospital.  

Chronic inflammation in adults appears to increase the risk of PD in later life. However, those patients suffering from arthritis who are on the anti-inflammatory medication Hydroxychloroquine (a drug approved for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis), seem to have a reduced risk of PD. This research project will test whether Hydroxychloroquine is able to alter the progression of PD if given over the course of a year or longer in those who have been diagnosed within the last 3 years. In parallel, tests will be run in PD models to help monitor its effects on brain inflammation.

If successful, these results will provide enough data for a larger follow-up study of Hydroxychloroquine for disease modification in PD.

The family has very generously committed $655,000 towards this novel project called “Tallman Family Energizes Research to Help Alleviate Neuroinflammation in PD," nicknamed “TALLER THAN PD.” 

“We have been very impressed with the way the Parkinson’s research community in the Ottawa area works together to support each other,” says Gord Tallman. “We look forward to working with the PRC and the uOBMRI and are excited about TALLER THAN PD’s potential impact.”