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What We Fund: $48.8 Million to Advance Novel Therapies and Broader Understanding of Disease  

Trials Testing New Therapies for Parkinson's Symptoms

In this bimonthly report, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) announces 91 grants totaling more than $48.8 million awarded in December and January. These supported projects are driving toward scientific discoveries that may lead to new treatments and cures for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).  

Here we review some projects investigating ways to stop disease and ease symptoms of PD, better understand Parkinson’s in varied populations, and measure the impact of PD. See a full list of MJFF-funded studies. 

Testing New Therapies to Slow Progression  

Among this last batch of grants, a total of $13.5 million went to 20 projects focused on early testing of novel Parkinson’s therapies. Many are new approaches targeting priority Parkinson’s proteins and pathways: alpha-synuclein, LRRK2, GBA and inflammation. Others are therapies testing an impact on targets more recently linked to Parkinson’s disease such as transient receptor potential mucolipin 1 (TRPML1) — which plays a role in the cell’s recycling system, the lysosome — and sigma-2 receptors that help cells cope with internal dysfunction and damage.  

See the list of these grants from our  Accelerating Early Proof-of-Concept Testing of Promising PD Therapies funding program

Understanding Risks Factors and Treatment Access in Global Parkinson's Population

Another funding program committed to support programs that addressed diversity, equity and inclusivity in Parkinson’s research. With most data historically gathered from participants of European descent, there is a need to close a critical gap to effectively assess disease and deliver care for all.  

MJFF plans to fund 15 projects with a total of $5 million through this funding program. The first grants issued in December and January went to these projects:  

  • Epidemiology of Parkinson’s in Latin America 
  • Progression of Symptoms and Mobility of Māori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand 
  • Parkinson’s Cognition Study in Bangladeshi Volunteers in London 
  • Clinical Disease Course and Healthcare Access in Black PD Patients in the United States 
  • Engaging the LGBTQIA+ Community Living with Parkinson’s and as Care Providers in Research 
  • Parkinson’s Diagnosis, Perceptions, Awareness and Care in Kenya and Senegal 
  • Risk Factors for Parkinson’s among Participants in the Black Women’s Health Study 

MJFF has also issued a follow-up grant to the Fostering Inclusivity in Research Engagement for Underrepresented Populations in Parkinson’s Disease (FIRE-UP PD) study. This new project will build on the program’s previous findings around barriers to research participation

Other Highlights: Sleeping Upright and Measures of Parkinson’s Function and Biology 

Additionally, MJFF awarded 20 grants totaling $11.5 million in support of the estimated $450 million landmark Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study.  

Interested in joining? 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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