NEW YORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research today announced approximately $2.1 million in total funding to 10 research teams working to validate therapeutic targets for Parkinson’s disease.
Target validation is an essential and historically underresourced phase of drug development in which researchers work to determine whether a molecule or mechanism of interest is a true drug target. While researchers have continued to identify novel targets in recent years through genetic, biochemical and epidemiological studies, a lack of funding for validation studies has long been a major roadblock to the efficient translation of these discoveries into practical therapies that benefit people living with PD.
The Foundation’s Target Validation initiative, one of MJFF’s Edmond J. Safra Core Programs for PD Research, provides intellectual and financial resources to help push potential PD drug targets one step closer to clinical trials and Parkinson’s patients.
Funded projects are listed below. Detailed information, including grant abstracts and researcher bios, is available on the Foundation’s Searchable Database of Funded Grants.
As with all MJFF grants, full funding is dependent on the achievement of predetermined, specific milestones and on researchers’ agreement to make the results of their work available to the Parkinson’s research community.
The transcription factor Nrf2 as a target to reduce neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease
Antonio Cuadrado, PhD, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
Neuroprotection by PXDNL, a novel heme-containing peroxidase
J. Timothy Greenamyre, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
Validation of Nox1/Rac1, a novel molecular source of reactive oxygen species in the nigrostriatal pathway, as a target for Parkinson’s disease therapy
Yoon-Seong Kim, MD, PhD, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
Upregulation of MsrA: A neuroprotective strategy for the treatment of Parkinson's disease
Deniz Kirik, MD, PhD, Lund University (Sweden) and Jean-Christophe Rochet, PhD, Purdue University
Use of Smo1 antagonists to boost endogenous GDNF expression in the adult striatum
Andreas H. Kottman, PhD, Columbia University
Polo-like kinases as therapeutic targets for Parkinson’s disease
Hilal A. Lashuel, PhD, and Patrick Aebischer, MD, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) and Deniz Kirik, MD, PhD, Lund University (Sweden)
Validation of cyclophilin D, a protein involved in the mitochondrial permeability transition, as a target for Parkinson’s disease therapy
Mathieu Lesort, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
The therapeutic role of CMA-MEF2D in the survival of dopamine neurons
Zixu Mao, PhD, Emory University
SHP-2 phosphatase: A new pharmacological target for Parkinson’s disease?
Maria-Cristina Missale, PhD, University of Brescia (Italy)
Validation of Nurr1 as a Drug Target for the Treatment of PD
Demetrios K. Vassilatis, PhD, Foundation for Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens, Greece