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What We Fund: $22M to Portfolio including Inflammation Therapy and Early Intervention Tools

Doctor and two people in clinic room

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) announces 50 grants totaling more than $22 million awarded in April and May toward scientific advances. These supported projects are driving toward new treatments and early diagnosis for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Here we review some of these recently funded projects. See a full list of MJFF-funded studies.

Therapy Targeting Inflammation

Our Foundation is supporting a new therapy that aims to reduce the brain inflammation seen in people with PD. Scientists believe this inflammation leads to cell loss. Researchers at Neuropore Therapies are testing the drug NPT1220-478 first in models of disease and then human volunteers.

Research or business development professional interested in learning more about the latest in PD drug development? Register and join our 2022 Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference in October.

Tools Enabling Early Detection and Intervention

What are signs and symptoms of PD, and how do we detect it? Better tools to properly diagnose the disease at an early stage may allow for earlier intervention and speed new therapies to slow or stop PD progression. 

  • Many people with PD experience symptoms years before accurate diagnosis. These symptoms and related issues (e.g., falls and fainting) can lead to emergency room (ER) visits. A study from the California Academy of Sciences aims to develop a framework to identify and address early-stage Parkinson’s in the ER or acute care facilities. Earlier diagnosis and intervention would improve care. It also would increase the number of people eligible for clinical trials looking for people recently diagnosed.
  • Another project from the University of Zurich aims to develop a test to detect buildup of the protein alpha-synuclein, a hallmark of PD pathology. If successful, it can potentially be used as a standardized test to diagnose disease.

Landmark Study to Predict and Track Disease

Included in the 50 grants were a number supporting our landmark study, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative. PPMI follows people — with and without Parkinson's — over time to learn more about how disease starts and changes.

Interested in joining PPMI? Get started today. The online portion of PPMI is open to anyone over the age of 18 years in the United States. Outside the U.S.? View a list of international recruiting sites.

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