Michael J. Fox Foundation Announces Winners of the "Ken Griffin Alpha-synuclein Imaging Competition" to Develop Game-Changing Tool for Parkinson's Research
NEW YORK, July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) announced the winners of the "Ken Griffin Alpha-synuclein Imaging Competition," a program to spur a scientific race in pursuit of an imaging tracer to visualize the key protein alpha-synuclein in the living brains of people with Parkinson's disease. Three teams — from AC Immune, Mass General Brigham and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) — were selected from a competitive pool to receive the grants.
The competition, which will award $10 million in total, is funded in large part through a $7.5 million leadership gift from Ken Griffin, Founder and CEO of Citadel. "I am proud to join The Michael J. Fox Foundation in supporting the important research driven by these incredible teams at AC Immune, Mass General Brigham and Merck," said Griffin. "We look forward to their continued progress as we work together to unlock game-changing breakthroughs for the millions of people living with Parkinson's disease."
The three winning projects represent unique and innovative approaches to tracer development:
Foundation's Longstanding Commitment to Find Elusive Tracer in Parkinson's Disease
"The potential of this tracer is immense. Instead of relying on symptoms to diagnose Parkinson's, physicians could look at what is happening in the brain, in real time, paving the way for earlier diagnosis," explains MJFF CEO Todd Sherer, PhD. "And researchers developing therapies to target alpha-synuclein will be able to see how well their drug is working. An alpha-synuclein imaging tracer would increase the odds of success for therapies in trials today."
The Ken Griffin Alpha-synuclein Imaging Competition builds on MJFF's longstanding support of alpha-synuclein tracer research. In 2011, Jamie Eberling, PhD, vice president of research programs at MJFF, organized a consortium to foster the development of an alpha-synuclein imaging agent, and MJFF has funded this area of research for more than a decade. In 2016, to spur additional development, MJFF announced a $2-million prize for the first team to show clinical evidence of a tracer and make it available to the research community at large. Today, thanks in large part to MJFF and its partners, numerous teams — in industry and academia — have joined the effort to develop an alpha-synuclein imaging agent.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
For more information, visit us at https://michaeljfox.org.
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SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
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