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The Michael J. Fox Foundation Earmarks $3 Million to Validate High-Impact Parkinson's Hypothesis

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) announced today that it has launched a new Parkinson’s research program to stimulate well-designed clinical research projects focused on potentially high-impact approaches to the field of Parkinson’s disease. Currently, there is limited funding available for researchers to carry out small–to-medium sized innovative clinical research projects applying current knowledge regarding Parkinson’s disease directly to patients and patient care. 

“There are a lot of promising ideas that could significantly impact our understanding of Parkinson’s but unfortunately never make it beyond the lab,” said Deborah W. Brooks, executive director of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. “Through the Clinical Discovery Program we aim to provide bridge funding to researchers to validate potentially high-impact hypotheses with the ultimate goal of progressing to the clinic.”

Under the Clinical Discovery Program, researchers will be invited to submit grant applications to conduct new or novel clinical research in humans relevant to the cure, cause, prevention or improved treatment of Parkinson’s disease and its complications. The program will support a variety of innovative research studies that are directly related to patients or patient populations affected by the 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. Applicants will be required to address study power, outcome and safety measures, as well as the number of patient participants or tissue samples required to conduct each study, as appropriate.

“Small clinical research studies are a critical step in the translation of basic discoveries into meaningful advances for people with Parkinson’s disease,” said J. William Langston, MD, chief scientific advisor for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and CEO of The Parkinson’s Institute. “The Clinical Discovery Program will seek out novel research that will accelerate findings about the disease in humans and will accelerate the development of new therapies.” 

The Clinical Discovery Program is a $3 million investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed program that will provide funding for clinical research projects over the course of up to three years. Continuation of funding will be dependent upon the achievement of mutually agreed upon milestones. Letters of intent are due by December 7, 2004. A scientific review committee consisting of biostatisticians, clinicians, clinical trial experts and others will review final applications. Funding is anticipated by spring 2005. 

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