The Michael J. Fox Foundation funds promising Parkinson's disease (PD) science to ensure new ideas flow into the pipeline and drive urgently needed breakthroughs for people living with the disease. Through open funding programs and staff-directed grants, the Foundation speeds efforts to grow our understanding of Parkinson's biology and clinical experience, measure PD pathology and progression, and develop therapies to alleviate symptoms and slow or stop disease.
In the first quarter of 2018, we funded projects exploring new therapeutic candidates and targets, such as genes linked to mitochondrial self-eating, a normal process disrupted in PD. Other studies we funded focused on detecting signs of Parkinson’s through brain scans and blood tests. Click the links below to read more on these projects.
For a full list of MJFF-supported projects, visit our funded grants page.
Testing New Therapies
Experts are testing new ways to protect brain cells to slow or stop disease progression, and looking at novel treatments for troublesome non-motor symptoms.
- Uric Acid as an Antioxidant Treatment for LRRK2-associated Inherited Parkinson’s Disease
Rachit Bakshi, PhD; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
- LRRK2 Inhibitors for the Treatment of Gastrointestinal Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
R. Jeremy Nichols, PhD; The Parkinson’s Institute, Sunnyvale, California
- A ROCK Inhibitor as a Neuroprotective Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Caryl E. Sortwell, PhD, and Jeffrey MacKeigan, PhD; Michigan State University, Grand Rapids
Searching for New Therapeutic Targets
To learn more about PD and how we may stop it, two new projects look for genes involved in Parkinson’s in general and in a normal process of breaking down the cell’s powerhouses, mitochondria, which is disrupted in PD.
- Searching for New Genes That Control Mitochondrial Self-Eating
J. Wade Harper, PhD; Harvard Medical School, Boston
- Mapping Genetic and Molecular Networks Linked to Parkinson’s Disease
Andrew B. Singleton, PhD; National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Maryland
Measuring Disease Outside the Brain
A great need for reliable methods to measure and monitor disease is fueling the search for biological markers of PD in blood, spinal fluid and skin.
- Does Mitochondrial Dysfunction in the Skin Predict That in the Brain?
Oliver Bandmann, MD, PhD; University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
- Interplay Between Microtubules, Alpha-synuclein and Inflammation as a Clue to Understanding and Managing Parkinson’s Disease
Massimiliano (Max) Bianchi, PhD; Transpharmation Ireland Limited, Ireland
- The Role of CD163 in Parkinson’s Disease
Marina Ramero-Ramos, PhD; Aarhus University, Denmark
Analyzing Big Data to Understand Disease
With sophisticated data analysis tools, scientists are searching large research databases -- such as from the MJFF-sponsored Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative -- for patterns that may help understand and measure PD.
- Brain Networks as Targets of Neurodegeneration in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases
Alain Dagher, MD; McGill University, Canada
- Searching Brain Scan Data for Patterns of Activity Associated with Parkinson's Disease
An Vo, PhD, and David Eidelberg, MD; The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York
- Brain-inspired Computer Analysis of Complex Parkinson’s Disease Data
Rejko Krueger, MD, and Reinhard Schneider, PhD; Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biology, Luxembourg
Anna Boyum, PhD, is a freelance writer and editor.