The MJFF funds 36 studies, including one on the potential new gene for Parkinson’s disease

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the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) funds a variety of studies in Parkinson’s disease, ranging from projects focusing on environmental risk factors and exercise to genetic therapeutic targets and new tests.

A total of 36 grants were awarded, amounting to $ 6.3 million.

Several of the MJFF-funded projects are studying genes that could serve as therapeutic targets, including one examining a gene – CORO1C – which has not been linked to Parkinson’s disease before.

“We are funding the most promising cutting-edge projects – from measuring lysosome function to exploring the impact of air pollution – to discover therapies and strategies that will improve the daily lives of people living with the disease. of Parkinson’s today and will achieve a future without the disease, “the foundation said in a Press release.

Last year, the researchers found that a mutation in the gene CORO1C associates with the presence of LRRK2 mutations suspected of playing a role in Parkinson’s disease. Some people with Parkinson’s disease have an overactive LRRK2 protein.

The discovery raises the possibility that CORO1C could be another target for drugs to treat the disorder.

Jordan Follet, PhD, one of the scientists who discovered the CORO1C connection, is now studying the CORO1CLRRK2 more in-depth link.

Two other MJFF-funded projects are evaluating how LRRK2 interacts with other proteins relevant to Parkinson’s disease such as tau and GBA.

Four other studies examine how certain toxic environmental factors such as air pollution and pesticides could influence Parkinson’s disease.

Occupational Therapist Katrina Long manages MJFF-funded business program to help people with Parkinson’s disease maintain regular exercise routines. Although physical activity can improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and slow the progression of the disease, many people find it difficult to maintain an exercise program.

Long’s program aims to support the motivation of people to stick to a program by setting goals and monitoring progress.

In addition, in collaboration with the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, the MJFF launched the Edmond J. Safra scholarship on movement disorders provide specialized training on Parkinson’s disease to experts in movement disorders. The goal is to build a generation of clinician-researchers capable of providing expert care while leading scientific breakthroughs.

The MJFF continues to fund the Parkinson’s disease progression markers initiative (PPMI), an observational study (NCT04477785) which documents and analyzes all the clinical features of Parkinson’s disease. Participants diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, those with certain risk factors without diagnosis, and healthy controls are invited to register.

Another grant supports the Aligning science with Parkinson’s disease (ASAP), which is working with PPMI, to build a new set of stem cell lines from blood samples taken in the study, to be used in research.

Finally, the foundation supports the development of new tests to monitor the progression of Parkinson’s disease and the effect of various therapies.

A of these projects aims to measure autoimmune responses against mitochondria – the cell’s energy generators – that take place in Parkinson’s disease. Researchers leading this project recently discovered that when two proteins deactivated in early-onset Parkinson’s disease – PINK1 and parkin – are absent, immune cells inappropriately recognize and destroy mitochondria.

Another test will assess the function of the lysosome, which is an organelle that helps remove cellular debris such as old and dysfunctional proteins. Certain LRRK2 mutations alter the ability of lysosomes to perform their normal functions.

“The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicating the dollars raised by its donors to promising scientific efforts that will help bring new treatments and cures to people with Parkinson’s disease,” the foundation said.

A complete list of all funded projects is available here.

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