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Michael J. Fox Foundation Launches Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)
Date:9/27/2010

NEW YORK, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation has launched the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) (www.michaeljfox.org/PPMI), the first-ever large-scale clinical study exclusively focused on identifying and validating Parkinson's disease biomarkers.

A biomarker is required to efficiently test potentially life-transforming new drugs that could slow or stop the progression of Parkinson's disease — something no PD treatment on today's market can do. A biomarker of Parkinson's has not yet been found.

"Currently, Parkinson's patients have access only to treatments that temporarily alleviate symptoms. If a biomarker is found, researchers will have a vitally needed tool in the quest for disease-modifying therapies that can do more than simply mask symptoms of the disease," said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. "While there is no guarantee that validated biomarkers will result from the PPMI study, their importance to therapeutic progress requires that we accept this risk."

The five-year study is sponsored by The Michael J Fox Foundation and is expected to cost $40 million over five years. It will be funded by the Foundation with a lead gift from Mrs. Lily Safra, a long time friend, partner, and board member of MJFF, and through the generous support of industry partners including Pfizer and GE Healthcare.

PPMI will be led by Principal Investigator Kenneth L. Marek, MD, President and Senior Scientist, Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders, New Haven, Connecticut.

"With PD progression biomarkers in hand, it will be possible to establish objective endpoints for clinical trials of disease-modifying Parkinson's treatments," said Dr. Marek. "Endpoints are concrete ways to demonstrate that a candidate therapy is, or is not, slowing disease course in PD patients, as opposed to simply treating disease symptoms. Without a biomark
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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