Editor's Note: For more Foundation news, research updates and tips on living well with Parkinson's, read the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of The Fox Focus, our biannual newsletter.
Parkinson's disease (PD) research stands at a critical juncture. The state of the science continues to advance, demonstrating growing promise for the millions worldwide living with the disease. The impact of The Michael J. Fox Foundation is increasingly felt in the field, stemming from our multi-million-dollar efforts to speed drug development by fostering data sharing, supporting discovery research, and driving biomarker validation. Today, we not only direct funds to individual disease-modifying and symptomatic therapies, but also establish frameworks and tools that will accelerate all projects in their pursuit of breakthroughs.
We have never been in a position to do this alone. Perhaps the only thing about PD research that has remained constant over two centuries is that it requires strategic risk-taking, enterprise and collaboration. In our short history, we have become a unique stakeholder building mutually beneficial relationships with both academic and industry researchers. We identify promising findings from basic research and infuse them with the resources required to move forward, forging consortia and collaborations that bring key players into Parkinson's research. These efforts, often through partnerships with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private industry, have resulted in numerous potential therapies currently in development, which you'll read about in this newsletter.
But we are living in uncertain times. While the NIH recently secured an additional $2 billion through September, there are no guarantees around federal funding for research in 2018 and beyond. In The New York Times, former NIH director Harold Varmus writes: "A substantial NIH budget cut would...diminish opportunities to discover new ways to prevent and treat diseases."
Yet the challenge lies not only in government funding cuts; the private sector, too, is increasingly risk-averse, especially in neuroscience, where late-stage clinical testing is astronomically expensive with no guarantee of success.
Given these realities, now more than ever our Foundation is deeply grateful for your support. We will continue using your contributions as quickly and wisely as possible to support new discovery, vital translational research and innovative scientists who have devoted their lives to finding better treatments and a cure for PD. We're proud of our track record of efficiency, with 89 cents of every dollar we spend going straight to our programs. And we count on you to stay with us as we drive toward a future where Parkinson's is in the rearview mirror.
P.S. We're staying ahead of action in Washington, D.C. that's significant for the PD community on our blog at michaeljfox.org/policyblog.