Parkinson’s Research Gets Boost with Cellular Dynamics, Michael J. Fox Foundation Collaboration

Ana de Barros, PhD avatar

by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) has recently joined a Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) effort by agreeing to collect induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from 85 people in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI).

The project, ‘Golub Capital iPSC PPMI Sub-study’, is sponsored by Golub Capital and run by the MJFF.

“This collaboration builds on the contributions of PPMI volunteers and the technical expertise of CDI to generate valuable research tools. Our Foundation’s continued commitment to open-access data and biospecimens speeds discovery toward greater understanding of Parkinson’s disease and development of novel therapies,” said MJFF’s senior vice president Mark Frasier, in a press release.

Collaborators of the study led by researchers at Indiana University, will provide the cells and available comprehensive, clinical and imaging data regarding the volunteers, to the scientific community in order to advance the common goal: accelerated development of new therapies for Parkinson’s disease (PD).

CDI, a FUJIFILM company, is currently leading the development and manufacture of human cells for use in drug discovery, toxicity testing, stem cell banking, and cell therapy development. CDI partners with top innovators worldwide to combine biologically relevant human cells with state-of-the-art technologies.

CDI’s technology offers the possibility of creating iPSCs from anyone – from a single standard blood draw, CDI could virtually develop any type of cell in the human body. According to the company, its iPSC technology provides unique advantages for improving the scientific community’s understanding of PD.

The generation of iPSC lines from individual patients will enable scientists to investigate how diversity among patients can influence PD’s causes and progression. The current research study has the potential to lead the development of innovative treatments for particular subgroups of patients.

“Our partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation builds on our proven expertise in iPSC generation and looks ahead to the development of innovative clinical applications for these cells,” said CDI’s chairman and chief executive officer Kaz Hirao. “Both by expanding access to research tools and by evaluating new avenues for cellular therapy, we are eager to help in the search for therapies that could provide long-lasting benefits for patients with Parkinson’s disease.”