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Neurotrophic Factors Challenge 2014


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The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) seeks to support work that can accelerate neurotrophic factor therapeutic development for Parkinson’s disease (PD). Applicants may submit a proposal focused on improving current neurotrophic factor approaches by identifying novel neurotrophic factors and delivery methods, as well as providing insight into why neurotrophic factors have not been effective in alpha-synuclein models. Proposals will be considered for a one-year, $125,000 award.



No deadline; applications accepted anytime.



In the last several years both pre-clinical studies and several early Phase clinical trials using neurotrophic factors have showed promise.  However, neurotrophic factor therapies have not yet been demonstrated to be safe and efficacious in Phase II clinical trials. While previous clinical trials yielded inconclusive results, many unanswered questions remain about the potential of neurotrophic factors as therapies for PD and vigorous interest remains in further developing neurotrophic factor therapies.  MJFF continues to regard neurotrophic factor therapy as a promising approach that deserves additional rigorous investigation in the hopes of advancing the field from promise to reality or at least in definitively determining the viability of the approach.



The purpose of the Neurotrophic Factors Challenge 2014 program is to address the following key topic areas:

  • Given that several rodent studies have shown that neurotrophic factors are not effective in alpha-synuclein models MJFF is interested in projects aimed at understanding the interactions between neurotrophic factors and alpha-synuclein that could inform future therapeutic strategies.
  • MJFF continues to be interested in novel neurotrophic factors that may be more efficacious than known neurotrophic factors or possess properties, such as brain penetrability, that make them more desirable as potential therapeutics.
  • The delivery of neurotrophic factors continues to be problematic and invasive. MJFF would like to support efforts to develop noninvasive approaches to deliver neurotrophic factors to the brain.



MJFF intends to fund multiple proposals as part of this initiative. Invited applicants may request a project up to one year in duration and $125,000 in total costs.  Indirect costs of up to 10% of direct costs are allowed.  Total costs are inclusive of both direct costs and indirect costs.  Budgets must be appropriate and justifiable for the work proposed. Each item and its cost must be clearly described in the budget.  Funds awarded cannot be used for expenses to scientific conferences/meetings or for general equipment.  Specific requests will be considered only if essential to the execution of the proposed work. No equipment only grants will be considered.

In the event of a collaboration between multiple institutions, indirect costs are only paid once – either to the Principal Investigator’s institution as a percent of total direct costs or, in the case of multiple Principal Investigators, to each institution as a percent of each institution’s total direct costs.



Proposals may be submitted by U.S. and non-U.S. entities, public and private non-profit entities, such as universities, colleges, hospitals, laboratories, units of state and local governments, and eligible agencies of the federal government and for-profit entities.  Post-doctoral students or fellows are not eligible to apply as principal or co-principal investigators for this program.



Please refer to our Administrative Guidelines. Please note that any information contained in this RFA will supersede any information contained in general MJFF administrative guidelines.


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