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Michael J. Fox Foundation Commits Up to $2 Million to Improve Drug Delivery for Parkinson's Disease
Date:3/25/2008

NEW YORK, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research today announced the launch of a new funding program, Improving Delivery of Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics to the Brain. This $2-million initiative aims to stimulate research addressing two major challenges to the development of transformative treatments for Parkinson's disease. The first challenge is the need for non-invasive drug delivery technologies allowing therapeutics to cross the blood-brain barrier. The second challenge is the need to more precisely understand how molecules move inside the central nervous system in order to target treatments to specific regions of the brain.

The blood-brain barrier, a thin membrane of tightly packed cells, creates a wall between most parts of the brain and the rest of the circulatory system. While this barrier is critical for protecting the brain by keeping out bacteria and other harmful agents, it also prevents entry by therapeutic molecules that could potentially impact the symptoms and progression of PD and other neurological disorders. Research is required to find new delivery technologies that would safely and reliably allow drugs to pass into the brain.

Even when a molecule of interest is able to pass the blood-brain barrier, researchers face an enormous obstacle in targeting the treatment to the proper area of the brain. The Foundation therefore aims to spark research to improve understanding of the movement and diffusion of molecules inside the brain.

"Advances in molecular biology and our understanding of Parkinson's disease continue to open new therapeutic avenues for investigation," said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. "But every therapeutic, no matter how promising, currently faces one major challenge: how do we get it into the targeted region of the brain, at appropriate levels, in a controlled and reproducible fashion? Improving on this status quo would be a
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SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
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