NEWYORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announced today the launch of its 2005 Clinical Discovery Program. Created in 2004, the annual program seeks out proposals that stimulate well-designed clinical research projects focused on potentially high-impact approaches to the field of Parkinson’s disease.
“Our aim is to drive the delivery of promising therapies to patients by providing the bridge funding that enables researchers to translate results from the lab to clinical research,” said Deborah W. Brooks, president and chief executive officer of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. “There’s currently a lack of funding to support small-to-medium sized clinical investigations, which sets up a significant roadblock to developing new treatment options for Parkinson’s.”
Researchers are invited to submit grant applications for clinical research that involves active patient participation and has the potential for immediate impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease. Proposals may range from studies that focus on understanding Parkinson’s disease in humans and developing scales for measuring Parkinson’s, to research supporting experimental new therapies for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
“The Clinical Discovery Program is one expression of the Foundation’s increasing focus on translational research,” says Ken Olden, chief scientific advisor to the Foundation. “Clinical research is critical to turning basic discoveries into meaningful advances for people with Parkinson’s disease.” The response from the scientific community, he adds, has been significant.
The Foundation launched the Clinical Discovery Program in 2004, awarding four grants totaling about $2 million. Projects previously funded include: a team in China investigating the potential neuroprotective effects of green tea polyphenols; a second grant recipient testing a novel strength training technique to address dysphagia, a common condition in Parkinson’s disease that occurs when the muscles involved in swallowing weaken or do not work properly; and two teams using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging to quantify changes in the brain associated with the onset of Parkinson’s disease and co-morbid conditions.
The Clinical Discovery Program is an investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed program that will provide up to $3 million in funding for clinical research projects involving active patient participation for up to three years. Those who wish to propose studies that do not involve active patient participation, but instead rely on archived biological samples, are encouraged to apply for the Foundation’s 2006 Community Fast Track program. Throughout the duration of the grant, continuation of funding is dependent on the achievement of mutually agreed upon milestones. Applicants will be required to address study power, outcome and safety measures, as well as the number of patient participants required to conduct each study.
Letters of intent are due by November 21, 2005. A scientific review committee consisting of biostatisticians, clinicians, clinical trial experts and others will review final applications. Funding is anticipated by spring 2006. For more information, scientists should visit the Foundation’s Web site, www.michaeljfox.org.