UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Michael J. Fox Foundation awards IoN researcher grant to advance Parkinson's research.

4 March 2010

The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) for Parkinson's Research has awarded a $624,790 grant to Dr Patrick Lewis (Department of Molecular Neuroscience) for his work contributing to a potential new treatment approach for Parkinson's disease.

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The MJFF has announced $3.5 million funding for a consortium of groups from academia and industry around the world to advance understanding of the LRRK2 gene, which is a key therapeutic target for Parkinson's disease. The funding project aims to help accelerate LRRK2 therapeutic development efforts.

Dr Lewis said "this is a major international collaborative effort".  "Our research is focused on understanding how mutations in this gene alter protein signaling in cells and brain tissue from patients with the disease. Our hope is that by dissecting how mutant LRRK2 interacts with signaling pathways in the cell, we will be able to narrow down how to target this protein in disease".

First linked to Parkinson's disease in 2004 by researchers at the UCL Institute of Neurology, the LRRK2 gene is now believed to be the most common genetic contributor to the disease. Recent evidence also suggests that genetic variation in LRRK2 may be involved in the more common, sporadic form of PD. For these reasons, MJFF has identified LRRK2 as a high-priority therapeutic target, investing nearly $17 million to date for a broad and integrated strategy to drive critical LRRK2-related initiatives at every stage of drug development.

read more >> Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research press release