At The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), we're on a mission to cure Parkinson's disease (PD). As 2017 winds down, we reflect, with tremendous hope and anticipation, on how much closer we are to fulfilling this goal and improving quality of life for people living with PD. Our 2017 Research Year in Review details the critical programs, novel initiatives and unprecedented collaborations that brought us closer to better treatments and a cure. A few highlights:
- Two new Parkinson's drugs to manage symptoms came to market (totaling six in the past three years) with more in clinical testing and two more are close to FDA review.
- Six therapies targeting alpha-synuclein, the sticky protein that clumps in the brain in Parkinson's, are in clinical trials to see if they could slow or stop disease progression. Two moved forward into Phase II testing.
- The first personalized medicine trials in Parkinson's began. A trial enrolling people with Parkinson's and a GBA1 genetic mutation and a separate study of LRRK2 inhibitors -- drugs targeting dysfunction caused by LRRK2 mutations -- opened in 2017.
- More than 15,000 people joined Fox Insight. MJFF's online clinical study gathering data directly from patients about the lived experience of Parkinson's officially launched this fall.
- Findings and methods from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), MJFF's landmark study to better understand and measure PD, are teaching us more about disease, encouraging research investment and changing the way we design trials. PPMI is following more than 1,500 volunteers at 33 global sites, and researchers have downloaded PPMI data for analysis more than 1.5 million times.
- More than 200 Parkinson's patient advocates attended the inaugural Parkinson's Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. to speak up for policies that safeguard federal research funding and access to care. Nearly 13,000 advocates -- representing all 435 congressional districts across 50 states -- contacted their lawmakers more than 54,000 times on various policy issues affecting the PD community.
The drug development pipeline is abuzz with activity and investment, and Parkinson's patients and families are engaged as never before. Together, we'll build on the momentum of 2017 for an even more successful coming year.