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The Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces $1.5 Million in Funding to Advance Development of Drug Targets for Disease-Modifying Parkinson's Disease Treatments

NEW YORK, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) today announced $1.5 million in total awards to six research teams working to develop potentially disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson's disease. The funding was awarded under the Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for Parkinson's Disease program, made possible by funding from Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN), a neuroscience-based biotechnology company.

The Novel Approaches program is an important component of MJFF's overall strategy of providing critical resources to under-funded areas of the drug development pipeline. Novel Approaches seeks to advance the development of therapeutic targets that already have some promising initial data, while engaging industry partner Elan as a potential follow-on funder for those projects with the greatest potential to bring new, transformative treatments to people living with PD.

Awardees under Novel Approaches include both academic and industry scientists. Of the six awardees, two will target the protein alpha-synuclein, whose clumping is a hallmark of PD pathology. The remaining teams are developing technologies to prevent the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, the main type of cell affected in PD, by focusing on the reduction of oxidative stress and the inhibition of JNK, a protein associated with cell death.

Projects selected for funding are listed below. Grant abstracts and researcher bios are also available on the Foundation's Web site, The selection of awardees was made exclusively by the Foundation via its standard peer-review process.

Inhibition of brain-dependent nitric oxide (NO) over-production by isoform-selective NO synthase (NOS) inhibitors

John Andrews, PhD, NeurAxon, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Development of HSF1 effectors as Parkinson's disease therapeutics

William Janzen, PhD, and Maria Sippola-Thiele, PhD, Chaperone Therapeutics, Durham, North Carolina

Optimizing metalloporphryins for clinical development

Manish Patel, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado

Optimization of alpha synuclein 5'UTR directed translation blockers as novel drugs for Parkinson's disease

Jack Rogers, PhD, Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Cerium oxide nanoparticles in treatment of Parkinson's disease

Beverly Rzigalinski, PhD, Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Virginia

Novel JNK inhibitors as therapeutic agents for Parkinson's disease

Bobby Thomas, PhD, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York and Maurizio Pellecchia, PhD, Burnham Institute for Medical Research, La Jolla, California

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation

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 $158 million in research to date.

About Elan

Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN) is a neuroscience-based biotechnology company committed to making a difference in the lives of patients and their families by dedicating itself to bringing innovations in science to fill significant unmet medical needs that continue to exist around the world. Elan shares trade on the New York and Irish Stock Exchanges. For additional information about the company, please visit

SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
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