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Fox Foundation funds BioFIND Parkinson's marker project

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In another step in the fight against Parkinson's disease, the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) and the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) have set up a collaboration known as BioFIND to identify disease biomarkers. The actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991 at the age of 30 and is committed to the campaign for increased PD research.

BioFIND will involve 120 people between 55 and 85 years old who have had Parkinson's for 5 to 15 years, and 120 control volunteers who do not have the disease. Its aim is to create a clinical data set and biologic sample set that scientists and clinicians from across the world may use for their own biomarker discovery research. NINDS will store and maintain the biological samples, and the MJFF will provide around $1 million in funding and will be involved in day-to-day management of the study.

Based at 5 sites across the U.S., the BioFIND project will run alongside the NINDS' Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program. Both of these will launch this month and will focus on finding new Parkinson's disease biomarkers. These markers will then feed into the MJFF's Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative, an ongoing $45 million study to validate existing biomarkers.

Also in Parkinson's disease, Amarantus BioSciences and Rainbow BioSciences have come a step closer to finalizing their joint venture, which plans to move Amarantus' NuroPro Parkinson's blood test toward the market. Rainbow BioSciences will fund a Phase II clinical trial.

There is currently no validated Parkinson's disease biomarker. Biomarkers and diagnostics could support early diagnosis and could help in the development of new drugs for this currently incurable condition by tracking the outcomes of clinical trials or stratifying patients into responders and nonresponders.

- read the press release from MJFF
- see the press release from Amarantus

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