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Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces $1.1 Million to Advance Leading Biomarker Candidates for Parkinson's Disease

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 Press Release J E 4
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NEW YORK, July 6 The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research today announced nearly $1.1 million for projects aimed at advancing the development of leading biomarker candidates for Parkinson's disease. The discovery and validation of biomarkers is of critical importance to increasing the speed and efficiency of PD therapeutic development, allowing scientists and clinicians to more accurately identify appropriate subjects for clinical studies, measure disease progression and monitor treatment effects in clinical trials.

MJFF has been a leader in the development of PD biomarkers for several years, with investments of almost $28 million to date. The projects announced today, which are made possible through the generous support of The Brin Wojcicki Foundation, are driving further development of promising biomarkers that measure the proteins produced by two genes associated with PD, alpha-synuclein and DJ-1.

For alpha-synuclein biomarkers, MJFF is coordinating a series of projects with contract research organizations (CROs) to optimize assays around this protein. The projects are being led by Mark Frasier, Ph.D., associate director of research programs at MJFF, in partnership with Covance, Inc., Epitomics, Inc. and Parexel International. For DJ-1 biomarkers, MJFF is working with Un Kang, MD, of the University of Chicago Medical Center and Covance, Inc. to develop DJ-1 assays.

Recognizing the urgent need for an orchestrated, fieldwide strategy to drive tangible progress, MJFF is also supporting a comprehensive biomarker discovery and verification effort, the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). In addition to the projects announced today, the alpha-synuclein and DJ-1 assays will also be tested as part of PPMI. For more information on these projects and PPMI, visit MJFF's Web site, www.michaeljfox.org.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to ensuring the development of better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for Parkinson's disease through an aggressively funded research agenda. MJFF has funded almost $188 million in research to date.

SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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