Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces New Funding for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Research

The Michael J. Fox Foundation partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to fund new research studying similarities across Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In September the program awarded $1.3 million in grants to nine projects to speed progress towards cures.

Today, the foundation announced the grant program, called Biomarkers Across Neurodegenerative Diseases (BAND), which will offer nearly $2 million for studies examining the intersection in biological and clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and other brain-deteriorating diseases.

Recipients of the funding will compare data across the diseases, including genetic information, brain changes detected through PET and MRI scans and symptoms such as memory problems or physical tremors.

“This type of cross-disease analysis may uncover new biological targets for tracking risk, onset or progression of these diseases,” said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer for the Alzheimer’s Association. “In this way, BAND may help advance discovery of vital new clues for developing treatments.”

Projects used data and samples from two large-scale biomarker studies, MJFF’s Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, which is a longitudinal clinical study collecting data at 32 clinical sites around the world, and the National Institute of Health’s Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative.

“A collaboration such as BAND promotes research efficiency,” said Mark Frasier, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research Programs at the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “Expanding investigation beyond a single diagnosis opens the door to new discoveries, which can only benefit drug development and thereby the millions of patients who need new therapies.”

The program is also funded by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation in Canada, and Alzheimer’s Research UK. This round of funding will provide up to $150,000 for each two-year research project, with awards expected to be made in October 2015.

Reposted from Bioscience Technology

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