The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) Initiative launched its first funding opportunity today. ASAP seeks to support international, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional research teams to address key knowledge gaps in the basic disease mechanisms that contribute to Parkinson’s development and progression. Teams can request up to $9 million for three-year grants (requests should not exceed $3 million per year) for projects that focus on at least one of the following thematic areas: biology of PD-associated genes and neuro-immune interactions.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has been significantly involved in establishing ASAP and is an active partner in the implementation of the funding program, which is one facet of the larger ASAP initiative. It was shaped by convening experts within and outside Parkinson’s disease research to develop an ambitious roadmap that tackles key scientific challenges in Parkinson’s disease. (That roadmap was outlined in a recent article by ASAP leaders.)
ASAP’s research roadmap focuses on three objectives:
- Supporting Meaningful Collaboration
- Generating Research Resources
- Democratizing Data
ASAP’s goal is to fund a basic research program that amplifies and coordinates the efforts of researchers around the world, both inside and outside of the existing Parkinson’s community, to improve understanding of the biology underlying Parkinson's disease. Developing a better understanding of how the disease originates and progresses will, hopefully, lead to new therapies.
It plans to support research around several scientific themes. Two of these—biology of PD-associated genes and neuro-immune interactions—are represented in the funding opportunity now accepting applications. A third—circuitry and brain-body interactions—will be the focus of a subsequent funding opportunity in 2020. A final scientific theme, progression, is interconnected with each of the other three themes, as progression affects every aspect of underlying disease pathology.