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Repositioning Drugs for Parkinson's Disease

November 1, 2011
Last month, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) announced the launch of its Repositioning Drugs for PD 2012 program. The program follows a successful 2011 during which the Foundation funded nine awards totaling $3.4 million repositioning existing drugs that could benefit Parkinson’s disease patients.

The program seeks projects that will test drugs that are either already FDA-approved or that have been proven safe in a clinical trial for a certain indication, to determine whether the drug might be efficacious in the treatment of PD.  By identifying therapies that are already clinically available, MJFF hopes to reduce the time and cost it takes to bring potential drugs to market.  The studies can be pre-clinical or clinical in nature.

Pre-proposals are due by December 15.  To apply, visit:

Pre-Clinical Track Clinical Track

Release Date: September 21, 2011 September 21, 2011
Conference Call: October 18, 2011 – 12:00pm US EDT or 7:00pm EDT October 18, 2011 – 12:00pm US EDT or 7:00pm EDT
Pre-Proposal Receipt Date*: December 15, 2011 – 6:00pm US ET December 15, 2011 – 6:00pm US ET
Full Application Invitation: January 17, 2012 February 6, 2012
Application Receipt Date**: March 1, 2012 March 15, 2012
Anticipated Award Announcement: June 2012 June 2012
Anticipated Funding: July 2012 July 2012

*Pre-proposals are required and will be administratively and scientifically reviewed

**Only invited applications will be accepted for review

MJFF has supported repositioning projects in the past, but last year marked the Foundation’s first repositioning specific RFA, launched in September 2010.  Some of the highlights of projects that came out of this RFA include:

  • Daniel Kaufman, PhD, and William Melega, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles, are studying the BCG vaccine to test for potential neuroprotection in the brain. This vaccine is commonly used for tuberculosis.

  • A National Institutes of Health team comprised of Barry Hoffer, MD, PhD, Yun Wang, MD, PhD, and Nigel Greig, PhD are investigating how an agent used to treat type 2 diabetes might contribute to the elevation of hormones that have been shown to have neuroprotective effects in PD pre-clinical models.

  • John Ciallella, PhD and John Gruner, PhD of Melior Discovery in Exton, Pennsylvania are testing a compound used to treat ADHD to determine whether it could enhance dopamine production as a form of symptomatic therapy.

  • In the clinic, Elkan Gamzu, PhD, of NeuroHealing Pharmaceuticals in Newton, Massachusetts, is searching to advance the clinical development of a drug used to treat uncontrolled salivation or drooling, called sialorrhea, a common symptom in people with Parkinson’s.

To find out more about the research MJFF is funding, visit their searchable database.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

As the world’s largest private funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers.  In addition to funding more than $264 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson’s research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson’s disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world. Now through December 31, 2012, all new and increased giving to The Michael J. Fox Foundation, as well as gifts from donors who have not given since 2009 or earlier, will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the $50-million Brin Wojcicki Challenge, launched by Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki.

For more information, visit:;

[caption id="attachment_3732" align="aligncenter" width="400" caption="Kuldip Dave from the Michael J. Fox Foundation discusses his organization's work to reposition drugs for Parkinson's Disease."][/caption]