MJFF Announces $2-Million Funding Commitment to Drive Development of Parkinson's Disease Biomarker Pipeline
May 7, 2009 — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research announced a funding commitment of $2 million for Biomarkers 2009. This fourth round of biomarker funding by MJFF aims to continue stimulating discovery of new disease and drug biomarkers. At the same time, recognizing the critical need for an orchestrated, fieldwide strategy to drive tangible progress, MJFF is putting building blocks in place to launch a comprehensive biomarker discovery and verification effort in coming months.
“Lack of biomarkers is a major impediment to the development of disease-modifying treatments for Parkinson’s disease, in large part because outcomes of clinical trials are extremely difficult to measure,” said Katie Hood, CEO. “While considered a high-risk pursuit by many, The Michael J. Fox Foundation will continue to push biomarker research because development of PD biomarkers would be a major tipping point for the field, greatly accelerating the development of transformative new therapies.”
The Foundation has been a field leader in the development of PD biomarkers for several years. Approximately $9 million in MJFF investment to date has resulted in the emergence of several lead biomarker candidates. Today’s additional $2 million, directed toward biomarker discovery, underscores that commitment. Biomarkers 2009 will prioritize continued development of two separate types of biomarkers, both of major importance to PD therapeutics development: disease biomarkers and drug biomarkers.
Disease biomarkers are distinctive biological features or changes that are consistently different in people with PD than in people without PD. Identifying one or more disease biomarkers would allow researchers to diagnose earlier, track disease progression and identify appropriate subjects for clinical trials. Drug biomarkers are critical for objectively assessing whether a given drug is reaching brain areas of interest and/or achieving a desired effect.
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 over $142 million in research to date.