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Ask the PhD: LRRK2 Research Forges Ahead

In our latest Ask the PhD video, I talk to Dr. Marco Baptista, vice president of research programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) about LRRK2, a promising target for Parkinson's treatments.

In 2004, researchers discovered that mutations in the LRRK2 gene were associated with Parkinson’s disease risk. Since then, research into this area, much of it funded by MJFF, has accelerated rapidly.

In the video, Dr. Baptista discusses the progress we’ve made in understanding LRRK2 and developing therapies and biomarkers targeting it. In 2017, the first therapeutic targeting LRRK2, from Denali, entered clinical trials. It has since been joined by Biogen, which is pursuing a different therapeutic approach. Recently, Biogen and Denali announced they will collaborate to continue advancing LRRK2 therapies. 

Dr. Baptista explains how MJFF's LRRK2 Safety Initiative (LSI) ensured this promising area of research could continue by addressing potential safety concerns. He and two colleagues at MJFF, Shalini Padmanabhan and Brian Fiske, are authors on a recent perspective in the journal Cells that details all the efforts the Foundation has made since 2004 to support the development of LRRK2 therapies. For more on LRRK2, visit the Research News section of our website.

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