Our portfolio of funded projects touches on many familiar targets such as alpha-synuclein and LRRK2. Weíre always on the lookout, though, for the next big thing in Parkinsonís drug development. A number of recent grants went to projects exploring new avenues that may be the key to stopping Parkinsonís progression.
Learn more about the more than 450 active projects that MJFF is supporting on our Funded Grants page.
Stopping Cellular Stress
Matthews O. Bradley, PhD
SAJE Pharma, LLC
Drugs developed by this Baltimore-based biotech target an enzyme that plays a role in oxidative stress, a process linked to Parkinsonís disease. Oxidative stress is the build-up of free radicals, products of oxygen metabolism. Researchers are testing which of their drugs are able to enter the brain and whether those compounds have an impact on Parkinsonís disease models.
Cornering a Cancer Gene
Xiqun Chen, MD, PhD
Massachusetts General Hospital
People with Parkinsonís disease are more likely to develop melanoma. Conversely, melanoma patients are at higher risk of developing Parkinsonís. This bidirectional link suggests a shared genetic basis for these two seemingly distinct conditions. These scientists are studying a melanoma-related gene to evaluate its role in the survival or degeneration of dopamine neurons. Targeting that gene may have neuroprotective effects.
Targeting a Trafficking Problem
Valťrie Legendre-Guillemin, PhD
Universitť du Quťbec ŗ Chicoutimi
A cellular process called vesicle trafficking delivers proteins where they need to be to perform their normal functions. Genes involved in this process have been associated with Parkinsonís disease. This study is investigating one of those genes and its relationships with known targets alpha-synuclein and LRRK2. Understanding this network of interactions will help to better focus therapies and potentially highlight a new target.
Halting Iron Overload
Pier Giorgio Mastroberardino, PhD
Erasmus University Medical Center
Iron is an element naturally present in the brain but excessive amounts, as observed in Parkinsonís disease, are toxic. Approaches to block iron accumulation could lead to promising therapies; it is still unclear, however, which of the specific proteins that control iron levels in the brain should be targeted by these therapies. This project from researchers in the Netherlands is testing a particular protein controlling iron to determine if it is a valid therapeutic target.
While these studies are still in the laboratory, there are many clinical studies recruiting volunteers. Register with Fox Trial Finder to be matched with studies in your area looking for participants like you.