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$24-Million Public-Private Partnership Expands Investigation of Parkinson's Disease

$24-Million Public-Private Partnership Expands Investigation of Parkinson's Disease

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and five life sciences companies today announced a public-private partnership to advance understanding, measurement and treatment of Parkinson's disease. The latest focus of the NIH Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) model, this new AMP PD project will apply cutting-edge technologies to tease apart microscopic differences in the cells of people with Parkinson's disease (PD).

MJFF and the five industry partners are contributing a combined total of $12 million over five years to AMP PD. NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) will match those funds with an additional $12 million contribution. The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health will manage the project. 

The first phase of the project is an investigation of previously collected data and biosamples using state-of-the-art "omics" technologies (e.g., genomics, proteomics, metabolomics) to define the molecular fingerprint of Parkinson's disease. Understanding the molecular differences in Parkinson's can illuminate ways scientists may measure, track or treat the disease.

The partners initially will fund analysis of data and biosamples from (i) the MJFF-led Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative; (ii) the NINDS Parkinson's Disease Biomarker Program; (iii) BioFIND, funded by MJFF and NINDS; and (iv) the Harvard Biomarkers Study.

"The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, industry partners and thousands of research volunteers have built robust datasets and biosample banks ripe for inquiry with the latest technologies. Leveraging those previous investments and partnering together can move us faster toward greater understanding of Parkinson's and therapies to slow or stop disease, patients' greatest unmet need," said Todd Sherer, PhD, MJFF Chief Executive Officer.

"AMP PD is the latest iteration of our longstanding alliance with The Michael J. Fox Foundation and would not have been possible without previous investment in these large-scale studies and the contributions of thousands of research volunteers," said NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz, MD.

A cornerstone of AMP PD, the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is an $80-million longitudinal biomarkers study using standardized methods to collect robust data and a multitude of biosamples from more than 1,500 volunteers enrolled at 33 clinical sites around the world. The availability of these samples was a driving factor in the partners' decision to invest in AMP PD. Additionally, PPMI set standards for biosample collection and storage, which allows AMP PD scientists to compare results across studies.

In line with MJFF and NIH open-access policies, the partners will make data and analyses generated through this program publicly available to the broad biomedical community through the AMP PD Knowledge Portal, developed and made possible by an in-kind contribution of software and services by research organization Verily.

NIH launched the Accelerating Medicines Partnership program in February 2014 with initiatives focused on Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

PPMI is recruiting people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with a connection to Parkinson's or Gaucher disease. Take a brief survey to see if you may be eligible to participate.

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