Clinical Research Fund
The National Parkinson Foundation, under the direction of its Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board, has announced the 2014 Research and Intervention Investigator Awards for Parkinson's Disease. NPF has published a request for applications to fund cutting-edge research conducted by the next generation of leaders in Parkinson's disease. Applications are invited from mid-career investigators across the Parkinson's community. Grant funding is available in three high-impact focus areas voted as most important by the Parkinson's community:
1. How Parkinson's Spreads from Cell to Cell. In Parkinson's, cells die because they are poisoned by a toxic form of the protein alpha synuclein. These “oligomers” spread from cell to cell almost like an infection. If we could stop this spreading, we could stop Parkinson’s disease in patients who have it and prevent Parkinson’s in people at risk. However, we don't know nearly enough about how this happens. If we could understand the process, it could offer new targets for drugs that have never before been considered. Very little funding has gone into this new area for research so far. This was the highest rated patient priority.
2. Cognitive change in Parkinson’s disease. For many patients, the most troubling aspect of Parkinson’s is worrying that their thinking will change. Their reaction time slows, they may have trouble picking the right word to say, and their ability to prioritize and sequence information can be affected. In this second-highest rated patient priority, NPF will support further research into the biology of cognitive change and also interventions that build on these new findings to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s.
3. Database studies. Drilling through multiple sets of research data to find common threads or hidden gems of information is a cutting edge technique — what is now called big data. NPF will leverage big data techniques in Parkinson's by funding studies looking at combinations of study databases: early and late disease, data from multiple sources or those that combine insights from the general population. Many ideas that are changing health today came from looking back at data using these big data approaches. Investigators will be welcome to use NPF’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project as a rich and comprehensive data set in their proposals.
For more information, please read the NPF press release: The National Parkinson Foundation Announces Grant Funding Opportunities for Research in Parkinson's Disease