NEWYORK, NY— As part of its ongoing efforts to develop research tools that can speed the availability of life-transforming treatments for Parkinson’s disease, The Michael J. Fox Foundation announced the launch of its Web-based Clinical Assessment Program. Under this initiative, the Foundation seeks to drive the creation and testing of Web-based tools that would allow any patient with a personal computer and an Internet connection to participate in clinical research from the comfort of their own home.
Historically, clinical research in Parkinson’s and other diseases has required patients to travel, often several hours or more, for in-person interviews, examinations and tests. This is a burden for anyone living with a disease, and takes an incredible toll on people with PD, where unpredictable motor and non-motor effects, as well as the efficacy and side effects of medication, vary from day to day.
“A Web-based clinical assessment can never entirely take the place of face-to-face interactions between patients and researchers,” said Katie Hood, CEO of MJFF. “But as a supplemental measure it could heighten efficiency and help speed progress toward new treatments by increasing, for a given trial, the amount and breadth of information from which to draw conclusions.”
Added Todd Sherer, PhD, the Foundation’s vice president of research programs: “In addition to increasing the participation of individuals who might otherwise not realistically be able to take part due to travel, a Web-based clinical assessment could provide a more complete picture of symptoms by introducing the ability to test certain functions at home and throughout the day.”
Ideal applications for this initiative will focus on three deliverables: the development of an assessment tool that will be available to patients through the Internet; the creation of a technological infrastructure through which patients will be able to access this tool; and the design and implementation of a pilot study to test efficacy.
The program will provide up to $1 million in funding for Web-based clinical assessments of various motor and/or non-motor symptoms of PD for up to two years. Pre-proposals will be reviewed by the Foundation’s scientific staff and a panel of scientific experts and must be submitted online by May 14, 2008. Information about submitting pre-proposals online can be found on the Foundation’s Web site (www.michaeljfox.org). Applicants whose pre-proposals are determined to meet the review criteria will be invited to submit full application proposals. Funding is anticipated by October 2008.
A conference call with MJFF Research Programs staff to further clarify the aims and goals of this initiative will be held March 31 at 12 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. Researchers wishing to participate in the call must RSVP to email@example.com and will receive an e-mail reply with call-in details.