The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has announced a $2.2 million research initiative to produce a cell line specifically designed to advance the study and treatment of Parkinson's disease, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects more than one million Americans.
The desired cell line, or self-replicating colony of cells, would meet a number of predetermined criteria of the mid-brain dopamine-producing neurons — the type of nerve cells lost in Parkinson's disease. Once developed, the line will be made available to Parkinson's researchers worldwide. Proposals involving all types of cells — including adult, fetal, and embryonic human stem cells — are eligible for funding. Awards will be based on the scientific merit of the application. The $2.2 million award is comprised of a $1 million commitment from the Fox Foundation, a $1 million contribution from an anonymous donor, and $200,000 from the Parkinson Alliance.
"We are very excited about this proposal, which has been carefully thought out and aims to provide a significant boost to Parkinson's research," said J. William Langston, M.D., chief scientific advisor to the MJFF and scientific director of the Parkinson's Institute. "The availability of cells specifically tailored for Parkinson's disease will stimulate even more interest and activity in the field."