Furthering Parkinson's Research
The Michael J. Fox Foundation advocates for polices that accelerate the search for a cure and support the development of new treatments for those living with Parkinson's disease today. Federal funding and legislation that builds the infrastructure to direct research can advance new therapies and improve well-being.
The National Institutes of Health
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation's medical research agency and the largest worldwide funder of PD research, supporting approximately $169 million in Parkinson's research in FY 2017. Within the NIH, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is the specific body that focuses on Parkinson's disease. The NINDS conducts Parkinson's research at its own laboratories and issues research grants to medical institutions across the country.
NINDS also funds the Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson's Disease Research, named in honor of former Congressman Morris K. Udall (D-UT), who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1979 and died in 1998.
Department of Defense PD Research Program
The Department of Defense (DoD) PD research program, more formally known as the Parkinson's Research program (PRP), was created by Congress in 1997 and has funded over $390 million in Parkinson's research.
Troops are routinely exposed to a wide range of toxins and events, such as head trauma, that may lead to the onset of Parkinson's disease. Understanding how these exposures occur, the incidence of disease afterwards and how these conditions may be prevented, treated or cured will allow the DoD to better protect military personnel while they serve our country.
PD Data Collection
The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act seeks to create a national data collection system for neurological diseases, including Parkinson's, to collect information on incidence and prevalence. To create this database, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would pull information from existing sources such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Veterans Affairs, state and local registries and pharmacy databases. The system would provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding many factors, such as geographic clusters of diagnoses, variances in the gender ratio, disease burden and changes in health care practices. In addition, the data collection system would support a wide range of research initiatives, allow for future planning of health care needs and promote education about neurological diseases.
This legislation was included in a larger package of bills called the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. The Foundation is currently working to ensure the database is fully funded by Congress so that it can be implemented.