Mjff and Merck Serono (EMD Serono In North America) Join Forces on $2-Million Initiative to Drive Treatments for PD-Related Cognitive Dysfunction and Mood Disorders
“Most people think of Parkinson’s disease as a motor disorder, but time and again, patients tell us that the cognitive and mood-related symptoms of PD — including depression, anxiety and executive dysfunction — are some of the most disabling aspects of the disease,” said
Elmar Schnee, President of Merck Serono, commented: “Merck Serono recognizes the urgent need for new therapies to alleviate PD-related mood disorders and cognitive dysfunction, and we look forward to supporting The Michael J. Fox Foundation in pursuit of effective treatments for these under-addressed aspects of Parkinson’s disease. Our support of the Foundation is just one example of our commitment to driving the innovative science that will allow every individual to live a fuller and more satisfying life.”
Cognitive dysfunction, which includes difficulty in planning, sequencing, initiating and sustaining behavior toward a given goal, and incorporating feedback to make adjustments along the way, is estimated to occur in up to 80 percent of people with PD. Depression is thought to affect up to 50 percent of Parkinson’s patients. Anxiety and apathy also are often associated with PD.
“While treatments for classic forms of depression or anxiety have been developed, little evidence exists that they are optimal when used in Parkinson’s patients,” said
Dr. Sherer noted that MJFF and Merck Serono hope, through their innovative partnership, to encourage Parkinson’s scientists to collaborate with researchers from other areas, including psychiatry, in order to capitalize on work already done and to obtain different perspectives on cognitive and psychiatric disorders in Parkinson’s disease.
The Foundation will accept proposals for clinical research projects or for basic or translational research in relevant preclinical models of PD. Priorities for funding include:
- Novel approaches to understanding the pathophysiology of cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric disorders in PD
- Development and characterization of pre-clinical models for these symptoms
- Examination of the role of cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric disorders in disease onset, progression and prognosis
- Development or validation of tools to predict or assess early development of cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric disorders in PD
- Detailed evaluation of the impact of existing PD treatments on these symptoms
- Pre-clinical and clinical testing of available and experimental treatments for cognitive dysfunction and psychiatric disturbances in PD patients
A conference call with
The overall selection of program awardees will be made exclusively by the Foundation under its standard peer-review process. Pre-proposals under this initiative are required and are due at U.S. Eastern Time on