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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research Invites Proposals for Target Pipeline Program


Fall 2013 Review Cycle
  • Closed as of May 29, 2012. Now in review.
  • Anticipated Award Announcement: October 2013
  • Anticipated Funding: November 2013
Spring 2014 Review Cycle
  • Informational Conference Call*: September 18, 2013 at 12pm US ET
  • Pre-Proposals Due: October 30, 2013 – 6pm US ET
  • Full Proposal Invitations: November 20,  2013
  • Full Proposals Due (by invite only): January 15, 2014– 6pm US ET
  • Anticipated Award Announcement: March 2014
  • Anticipated Funding: April 2014
Fall 2014 Review Cycle 
  • Informational Conference Call*: March 26, 2014 at 12pm US ET
  • Pre-proposals Due: May 28, 2014 – 6pm US ET
  • Full Proposal Invitations: June 18, 2014
  • Full Proposals Due (by invite only): August 6, 2014 – 6pm US ET
  • Anticipated Award Announcement: October 2014
  • Anticipated Funding: November 2014
*MJFF will hold a 45-minute conference call on the dates and times listed above to clarify and explain the goals of this funding initiative and answer applicant questions.  To participate in the call and receive call-in details, please RSVP via email to conferencecalls@michaeljfox.org.


Research into the etiology and pathophysiology of PD has identified an increasing number of genetic and cellular targets where therapeutic intervention could benefit people with PD, including:
  • Epidemiological studies that have identified both protective and risk factors for PD.
  • Genetic studies that have implicated candidate genes whose protein products may underlie PD pathogenesis.
  • Biochemical studies from cellular and whole organism model systems that point to biological pathways important in PD etiology and pathogenesis, as well as examination of cell death and trophic factor signaling pathways that have pointed to potential protective targets.
  • Emerging understanding of dopamine neuronal development and maintenance in adulthood that has provided potential targets to restore/protect dopaminergic function in PD patients.
  • Improved understanding of the neurochemistry and neurophysiology of the basal ganglia and related neuronal circuits that have suggested ways to alter neuronal function that could help treat motor and non-motor symptoms of PD not addressed by current therapeutics.
  • Better understanding of the physiological and molecular pathways underlying treatment-induced complications that have revealed potential targets for interventions to ameliorate these troubling side effects.
Although such discoveries provide great insight into the pathobiology of PD, translation into therapeutic interventions requires additional applied work. Target validation studies determine whether manipulating the availability or function of a biological target can beneficially impact a disease-relevant pathway. Such data, along with information about the target‘s location in relevant disease tissues and evidence supporting a link between the target and human PD, can all make a strong case for further therapeutic development.
Pharmaceutical and biotech companies, who are generally the best suited to carry promising therapies forward into the clinic, must carefully weigh the evidence and risk-benefit of a target before deploying significant resources. MJFF believes that promoting critical target validation studies within academic and industry laboratories can help ‘de-risk‘ these investments and ultimately accelerate the creation of improved therapies for people with PD.

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