The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research announced today the launch of its Community Fast Track, 2003 research initiative. This year, MJFF is joining with other Parkinson’s disease organizations to launch the
$4 million Fast Track initiative, noted for its past success in stimulating novel, innovative and high-impact approaches to the field of Parkinson’s research.
Fast Track is an investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed program that considers a broad range of research applications relevant to the cure, cause, prevention or improved treatment of Parkinson’s disease. It was designed to support cutting-edge research, while streamlining the grant making process and compressing the timeline in which scientists receive award money.
“This project has two marks of great distinction: stimulating Parkinson’s research of the highest quality and pooling the resources that are necessary to get it done,” said Robin Elliott, executive director of the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation which has led community participation with an expected $500,000 contribution to the program. “We at PDF salute our friends at Fox and other organizations and are proud to join them in this important enterprise.”
The Parkinson Alliance and the Unity Walk anticipate adding a total of $200,000 to the two-year program. “We believe the Fox Foundation has helped put the entire Parkinson's
community on a "fast track" to cure this disease”, said Carol Walton, executive director, The Parkinson Alliance. “We were looking for another program similar to the R21 Fast Track Grant Program and now we have it. We hope all Parkinson’s organizations will support this program, as these collaborations promise us a future without Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases.”
In 2002, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, the National Parkinson Foundation and The Parkinson Alliance joined MJFF, other private funders and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in funding the “R21 Grants for Parkinson’s Disease Research,” which incorporated the Fast Track process. The program was the first public-private partnership to fund Parkinson’s research, awarding $11 million in 35 two-year grants.
MJFF’s Fast Track 2001 and 2002 together awarded $5.5 million in 35 two-year grants. Past studies have included projects in areas such as genetic studies, neuroprotection and restorative treatment strategies. MJFF anticipates that the portfolio will continue to broaden in response to applications studying the newest and most relevant Parkinson’s research topics.
“We are pleased to invite other Parkinson’s organizations, both regional and national, to participate in this effort,” stated Deborah W. Brooks, executive director of MJFF. “Over time, we hope that Community Fast Track serves as a springboard to greater collaboration within the Parkinson’s community, as we all strive toward our common goal of curing PD.” Parkinson’s organizations interested in participating may contact Ms. Brooks at MJFF.