Gene silencing techniques and induced pluripotent stem cell technology are among the cutting-edge approaches to Parkinson's drug development funded through The Michael J. Fox Foundation's Rapid Response Innovation Awards 2008. As part of its mission to drive transformative treatments and a cure for PD, the Foundation has awarded $1.1 million for 15 high-risk, high-reward Parkinson's disease research projects under the initiative in the first half of the year. Applications are still being accepted, and a total of $2 million in Rapid Response awards is expected by year's end.
Rapid Response helps keep new and novel approaches to Parkinson's disease flowing into the drug development pipeline by allowing researchers to pursue their most exciting ideas in real time. The Foundation accepts Rapid Response proposals on a rolling basis with no deadline, and funding decisions are made within six weeks of application. Awards of up to $75,000 are available for one-year basic, preclinical or clinical research projects in any Parkinson's-relevant arena. The program has met with an enthusiastic response from the research community, both within Parkinson's disease and beyond, since it was first launched in January 2007.
"Rapid Response infuses capital quickly into exciting new ideas that could open up important new avenues of inquiry for Parkinson's disease," said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. "Our goal is to provide the funding needed to further 'build the case' for these new concepts, developing the data required before other traditional funding sources can step in."
The program's application process and funding criteria emphasize speed and novelty. Funded projects typically are strong ideas being tested for the first time. Unlike other Foundation initiatives, Rapid Response allows for the submission of applications at any time of year. There is no pre-proposal triage stage, and the standard MJFF application has been shortened to three pages. Additionally, postdoctoral researchers are permitted to apply as principal investigators provided the head of their lab serves as administrative PI.
Among the potentially high-impact Rapid Response projects funded so far this year:
|Contact: Holly Barkhymer|
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research