ATCC and Michael J. Fox Foundation Teamed Up to Discuss Parkinson’s Research Tools

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by Magdalena Kegel |

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ATCC and MJFF workshop

Experts from ATCC — a leading nonprofit repository of biological materials — partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research for a workshop at the recent International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) 2017 Annual Meeting.

The workshop aimed to address best practices for providing researchers with biological materials of high quality. But the spotlight was particularly focused on the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) Pre-clinical Tools Program, a collection of research tools made available to promote research into Parkinson’s disease mechanisms and treatments.

The workshop, named “MJFF and ATCC Partnering for Success,” was held on the second day of the meeting, which took place May 9-12 in Toronto, Canada.

Liz Kerrigan, director of Commercial Partnerships and Standards, and Maryellen de Mars, PhD, senior director of Standards Resource Center, who represented ATCC, teamed up with the Nicole Polinski, PhD, MJFF’s associate director of research programs, for the workshop.

“Research tools and reference reagents enable scientists to gain insight into the mechanisms of disease, and are critical in the development of new treatments,” Dr. Raymond Cypess, ATCC’s chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

“These tools and reagents are also critical in recruiting scientists to work in specific disease areas. As partners to the scientific community for more than 90 years, ATCC is proud to join MJFF at ISBER to discuss the significance of these tools and the need to increase access and availability for the global research community.”

The workshop wasn’t the first time ATCC took an interest in Parkinson’s disease. In 2016, the company released three lab-grown cell types allowing researchers to explore the biological role of LRRK2 — identified as a risk gene in the disease.

The development of the cell lines was funded by the foundation, which continues to work with ATCC to develop cells that produce the Parkinson’s-linked protein parkin. Such cell lines are predicted to be available in late 2017.

“The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s collaboration with ATCC delivers vital pre-clinical tools to the Parkinson’s research community to address field-wide challenges and advance disease understanding,” Polinski said. “We are pleased to join ATCC at ISBER to highlight the importance of these tools in developing therapeutic strategies and speeding [Parkinson’s disease] research.”

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