PD is a chronic, progressive disorder of the central nervous system, and is the direct result of the loss of cells in a section of the brain called the substantia nigra. Those cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain. Loss of dopamine causes critical nerve cells in the brain, or neurons, to fire out of control, leaving patients unable to direct or control their movement in a normal manner.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is dedicated to ensuring the development of a cure for PD within this decade through an aggressively funded research agenda. Enormous progress toward finding a cure has been made on many neurological fronts, and scientists' understanding of the brain and how disease affects it has increased dramatically. The foundation seeks to hasten progress further by awarding grants that help guarantee that new and innovative research avenues are thoroughly funded and explored.
The MJFF Rapid Response Innovation Awards support projects that may have little to no existing preliminary data, but that hold potential to significantly impact understanding or treatment of PD.
"Given the extremely tight budget of federal government research funding, MJFF's work in prioritizing and funding new and innovative projects is extremely valuable," Yurek said.