Parkinson’s Foundation Invests $4.3 Million for Research

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by Teresa Carvalho, MS |

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The Parkinson’s Foundation announced it will invest $4.3 million in 29 grants for projects that will investigate the underlying causes of Parkinson’s disease and its biological mechanisms, with the goal of finding new treatments.

This investment is in addition to the $10 million the Foundation committed to spend earlier this year.

“The Parkinson’s Foundation has doubled in size over the last four years, allowing us to increase our overall investment in research. The scientists we are funding are working in critical areas of Parkinson’s disease research,” John L. Lehr, president and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation, said in a press release.

“By focusing on the basic biology of the disease and investing in the world’s best scientists, the Foundation is paving the way for important breakthroughs in Parkinson’s research in the coming years,” Lehr added.

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The Foundation also announced the new George G. Kaufman 2021 Impact Awards, in memory of Kaufman’s efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. This award was made possible due to a $1 million donation from his wife, Mimi Winter.

A postdoctoral fellowship, the 2021 James R. “Jim Bob” Moffett, also was awarded by the Foundation. This grant, named in memory of Moffett’s dedication to support Parkinson’s research, will allow the study of sleep dysregulation mechanisms in patients with the disease.

“Sleep problems are a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease and in some cases an early warning sign before motor symptoms set in. It remains largely unexplored whether sleep regulation and degeneration pathways have common molecular components,” said Daniel Silverman, PhD, the inaugural grant recipient from The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley.

“It is exhilarating to be able to investigate sleep physiology and its dysregulation in PD, and I am very grateful to the Parkinson’s Foundation for the fellowship support,” Silverman added.

The grant applications are evaluated by a panel of scientific experts, including members of the Foundation’s scientific advisory board and Foundation-trained research advocates. Research advocates are either patients or caregivers who can provide scientists with the patient perspective and their real-world experiences to help accelerate research.

Additional information about the Parkinson’s Foundation research grants is available here.

The $10 million investment made earlier this year enabled the expansion of the PD GENEration study, which seeks to offer free genetic testing and counseling to Parkinson’s patients.

“The best way to provide a better quality of life to people living with Parkinson’s is to invest in vital research. There is always the hope that the next breakthrough will take place at any one of the labs we fund,” said James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation.

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