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Brin Wojcicki Challenge

We’ve met — and surpassed the Challenge!

With your help, The Michael J. Fox Foundation has surpassed the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge. In effect from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012, the Challenge doubled gifts from new donors as well as increased giving from current donors. In the final analysis, Challenge-eligible giving exceeded the original $50-million goal by about $3 million — additional dollars that longtime Foundation friends Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki also agreed to match.

The vision of Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki has built the Foundation’s capacity to continue driving new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Thanks to their generosity and yours, we are poised to continue our critical work to speed drug development. In 2013 we will continue our critical work to mobilize the researcher and patient communities in the hunt for medical breakthroughs patients can feel in their everyday lives. At the outset of 2013, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is particularly focused on:

  • The search for a disease-modifying treatment. This spring, results are expected from Ceregene, Inc.’s most recent MJFF-supported Phase 2 clinical trial of neurturin, a trophic factor that could help restore dopamine neurons in the Parkinson’s brain. As Parkinson’s genetics continues to revolutionize the field, MJFF is growing its initiatives focused on alpha-synuclein and LRRK2, the two most important genetic targets in PD. And in coming months the Foundation’s landmark biomarker study, PPMI, will complete collection of baseline data (all of which has been made available to the research community at large in real time) and launch a new arm to study people at increased risk for the disease.
  • Looking beyond the dopamine system. Today there is a better understanding than ever that Parkinson’s involves a constellation of symptoms that go well beyond dopamine signaling. MJFF-enabled partnerships with Bristol Myers Squibb, Sanofi, Addex and other major pharmaceutical firms are pushing new classes of symptomatic therapies, as well as treatments for cognition and dyskinesia, closer than ever to the clinic.
  • Increasing the flow of willing volunteers for clinical research through Fox Trial Finder. Fox Trial Finder (foxtrialfinder.org) has registered 13,000 patient and control volunteers who want to be matched to the best trials for them. In 2013 the site comes online in five more European countries and aims to more than double its registered volunteers.

Today, in short, we see the most robust pipeline of Parkinson’s disease therapeutics that has existed in years — possibly ever. Understanding of the factors underlying disease onset and progression is increasing, and insights from genetics are opening new avenues for therapeutic development. Yet in the midst of this promising activity, government and commercial sources of research funding continue to dry up. Especially as more research approaches the clinic, where costs rise steeply, there has never been a more important time or a greater need for the Parkinson’s community to work together to ensure funding sufficient to keep the most promising projects moving forward.

Join us in 2013 and support our continuing efforts to undertake the challenging and expensive work of keeping these potential new treatments flowing forward toward the patients who have waited long enough for breakthroughs.

As always, thank you for your support.

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