The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) has announced a hundred and twenty-seven grants totaling $24 million in support of research focused on defining, measuring, and treating Parkinson's disease.
In support of defining and understanding the causes of Parkinson's, the foundation awarded thirty-two grants totaling more than $5.3 million. In partnership with the Silverstein Foundation for Parkinson's with GBA, the grants included support for sixteen projects focused on investigating the biology, biomarkers, and therapies related to the GBA (glucocerebrosidase) pathway. According to MJFF, mutations in the GBA gene are the most common genetic factor in Parkinson's disease. The foundation also is providing support for a similar funding program associated with alpha-synuclein, a protein that lumps in the cells of people with Parkinson's.
In addition, the foundation awarded sixty-three grants totaling nearly $8.7 million in support of efforts to measure the progression of the disease and assess the effectiveness of treatments. The grants include support for researcher Matthew Cooper, who is working to develop an imaging tracer of the protein NLRP3, which is involved in inflammation. Chronic inflammation may play a role in Parkinson's, and a tool that makes it easier to visualize the process could lead to earlier diagnosis of the disease and more effective therapies.
And twenty-one grants totaling almost $9.4 million were awarded in support of treatment efforts aimed at slowing or stopping the progression of Parkinson's and alleviating its symptoms. Eight of the funded projects are working to explore innovative approaches such as vibrating socks and a wearable robotic device that can help manage gait and balance problems. The foundation also awarded eleven grants totaling more than $600,000 to ensure the field has what it needs — from laboratory resources to patient data — to continue to advance research.