The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and The Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation (BSDPF) have celebrated a new collaborative alliance at an event in which the MJFF awarded the inaugural Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research.
The prize was awarded for distinguished groundbreaking advancements and discoveries in the field of dystonia genetics to Xandra O. Breakefield, a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School and a geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Breakefield has a 30-year career committed to advancing knowledge on the genetics of movement disorders, and in 1997 she managed to identify the gene that causes early onset of the symptom. Thanks to this advance, better clinical diagnosis is now possible.
“I am deeply moved to be the recipient of the first Bachmann-Strauss Prize for Excellence in Dystonia Research. I am grateful to MJFF and BSPDF, two organizations that share a deep commitment to patient-centric research, for recognizing the work of my team and for valuing discoveries that hold potential to improve the lives of those living with dystonia and Parkinson’s,” said Breakefield.
The award included a research grant of $100,000 to fund more research projects.
The gala event occurred in New York City at The Pierre Hotel and intended to celebrate the achievements of BSDPF and Bonnie Strauss, its founder, that after being diagnosed with dystonia created the foundation.
Dystonia is a neurological movement disorder that causes muscle contractions leading to twisting, abnormal postures and repetitive movements; it is an under-recognized symptom of Parkinson’s disease. Further, the event also honored scientists and advocates who have furthered Parkinson’s research and dystonia specifically. $1.7 million have been raised to date in order to support the symptom of dystonia and Parkinson’s research.
“This night is to recognize the many generous friends and scientists who have stood with me, year after year, in supporting critical research. It is a delight to share this moment with those who have given to our foundation and who join us as we align with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to foster greater collaboration and progress in drug development toward new treatment breakthroughs for dystonia and Parkinson’s,” said Bonnie Strauss.