Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $2.8 Million to Boost Development of Parkinson's Biomarkers

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has announced thirteen grants totaling $2.8 million to help speed the discovery of Parkinson's disease biomarkers.

The lack of clear and reliable biomarkers is one of the greatest hurdles to developing and testing new treatments that slow, stop, or even prevent the disease — a key unmet need for Parkinson's patients. In addition to improving the ability of researchers to diagnose the disease and measure its progression, the identification of biomarkers would provide more definitive clinical trial outcomes.

The grants, which were made possible with funding from the Brin Wojcicki Foundation, include awards to David Vaillancourt of the University of Illinois at Chicago for research to determine whether diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) can differentiate Parkinson's disease from other neurological movement disorders and provide additional evidence for the use of DTI as a biomarker; Tanya Simuni of Northwestern University for efforts to track whether DTI detects changes in people with the disease over time; and Danna Jennings at the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders for continued research on a brain imaging molecule that can be used as a biomarker for drugs.

For a complete list of funded projects, visit the MJFF Web site.

"MJFF Awards $2.8 Million to Drive Development of Parkinson's Disease Biomarker Pipeline." Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Press Release 02/04/2010.