University of Helsinki among twelve research teams that have been awarded nearly $1.5 million in total funding for Parkinson’s Research.
University of Helsinki among twelve research teams that have been awarded nearly $1.5 million in total funding for Parkinson research.
The 2006 awards include funding for new and novel research into neurotrophic factors, cellular function of PD- implicated genes, and the role of the immune system in Parkinson’s disease.
Community Fast Track is designed to test innovative concepts in Parkinson’s research and determine as quickly as possible whether they merit further investigation. The program provides one year of funding, and the Foundation moves quickly to provide supplemental funding if predetermined one-year milestones are met and research teams have a workable plan in place to address next steps.
Two awardees will investigate trophic factors, molecules that support and nourish neurons in the brain and that have long been considered one of the most promising avenues of Parkinson’s disease research:
– Mart Saarma, PhD, of the University of Helsinki in Finland will further his investigations of a new trophic factor he has identified, conserved dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF). He has already demonstrated that CDNF protects dopamine neurons from dying in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease. He will now extend this work in the same model to determine whether CDNF also causes dopamine neurons that have already died to regrow. Dr. Saarma will also investigate the potential of a rodent model with the CDNF gene deleted to serve as a progressive, predictive animal model of Parkinson’s. The field’s current lack of such a model is a major roadblock to the development of neuroprotective therapies.
– William Pardridge, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles will test a novel intravenous drug delivery technique called “Trojan horse liposomal technique” for PD.
Many awardees will explore the cellular function of genes implicated in PD or in dopamine production.
Launched in 2001, the Community Fast Track program has awarded approximately $16.5 million to support 98 research projects to date.
A complete list of awardees with researcher bios and grant abstracts is available on the Foundation’s Web site,www.michaeljfox.org