Every research project we fund is a step closer to new and better therapies for people with Parkinson's disease (PD).† To keep you informed of the Foundation's research investments, we're highlighting a few exciting, newly funded grants each month. To learn more about these studies and the more than 500 active research projects that The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is supporting, visit our†Funded Grants†page.
Relief for Persistent Constipation
Keith Gottesdiener, MD
Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts
Medication may help PD patients dealing with chronic constipation.
Constipation presents a real issue for Parkinsonís patients, causing extreme discomfort and lessening the bodyís ability to absorb medicine used to treat PD. It can also be difficult to treat. Keith Gottesdiener, MD, is leading MOVE-PD, a clinical trial to investigate how patients with PD and chronic constipation respond to an experimental drug called RM-131. Researchers will enroll 56 Parkinsonís patients for two 14-day study periodsóone with placebo and one with RM-131óand ask them to complete daily diaries to evaluate the effectiveness of the medication.
Validating a New Causative Gene for Parkinsonís
Birgitt Schuele, MD
The Parkinsonís Institute, Sunnyvale, California
Looking for genes not yet identified that play a role in Parkinsonís onset.
Identifying changes in a personís genetic makeup that might lead to PD is one of the most important research avenues toward preventive and disease-modifying therapies. Many susceptibility genes for Parkinsonís have been found, but a causal genetic variant has been identified in only five to 10 percent of PD cases. Birgitt Schuele, MD, has searched for a new causal gene by looking for a ďcopy number variationĒówhere people may have either extra copies or too few copies of a gene. The more classic type of mutation usually studied by scientists sees one DNA letter (A,C,T,G) changed to another letter. In this project Schuele will further investigate one candidate gene involved in mitochondrial function.
Geneticsí Role in Parkinsonís Gender Differences
Rachel Saunders-Pullman, MD
Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York
Comparing biomarkers between men and women in LRRK2 and idiopathic PD can help differentiate between hormonal and genetic effects.
There are gender differences in Parkinsonís disease: Men have a higher risk of Parkinsonís, and women are thought to experience PD onset later than men. We also see Parkinsonís attributed to a genetic cause, such as a mutation of the LRRK2 gene, and idiopathic PD, where we donít know the cause. Rachel Saunders-Pullman, MD, is comparing clinical features of men and women in both categories, LRRK2 PD and idiopathic PD. If Parkinsonís-implicated genetic changes differ between men and women, the field could gain actionable new insights into patient care and therapeutic development.