Jesse's Journey Foundation

Defeat Duchenne. Change Lives.

Journey to a Cure

A Revolutionary Approach in Duchenne research

In 2017, Dr. Patrick Gunning was named as one of Canada’s “Top 40 Under 40”. He leads The Gunning Group at the University of Toronto Mississauga and he has attracting significant funding for an innovative approach to cancer research, focusing on a protein called “STAT3”.


STAT3 Protein

STAT3 is a protein that is found in most cells in the human body. When we’re young, this protein is very active and plays a key part in growth. When we reach adulthood and stop growing, STAT3 slows down. However, in some people STAT3 stays hyperactivated causing overexpression of the protein. This is what is known to happen in certain forms of cancer, and it is what is believed to happen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The Gunning Group has developed a molecule that blocks STAT3 activity. This molecule attaches to the protein and shuts it down, effectively halting the damage the hyperactivated protein is causing. The molecule only binds to the protein if it is hyperactivated, meaning that there is no effect on surrounding healthy cells.

Click here to watch a presentation by Dr. Gunning where he shares details about his research with the Jesse’s Journey board of directors in January 2018.

The Journey to a Cure Campaign

Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin$300,000Raised $272,450 towards the $300,000 target.$272,450Raised $272,450 towards the $300,000 target.91%

“We can’t stop until we’ve stopped Duchenne.”
John Davidson, Founder – Jesse’s Journey

Jesse’s Journey is excited to partner with Dr. Patrick Gunning and The Gunning Group to fund a study to determine the effectiveness of STAT3 inhibitors in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This study will be the first of its kind – to date, STAT3 inhibitors have not been researched in Duchenne. Dr. Gunning has partnered with Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute, and a researcher funded previously by Jesse’s Journey. Together, they will aim to develop a molecule to inhibit STAT3 function in Duchenne with a goal of identifying a therapy that can be tested in future human clinical trials.

To help make this exciting vision a reality, we are reaching out to our community of families, donors and supporters. We have committed to granting $300,000 to the Gunning Group and we need your help. To date, donors have committed more than $270,000 meaning we are 90% of the way toward our goal.

Please join us today – your gift to Jesse’s Journey will ensure that this innovative research project will move forward and provide important answers to Duchenne muscular dystrophy. To find out how you can help, please contact Megan Zinn or call 519-645-8855 x222.

“When researchers work together, miracles can happen.”
Jesse Davidson (1980-2009)