Parkinson’s Foundation Receives Grant to Fund Critical Research, Genetic Testing and Counseling
Simone Charitable Foundation Awards Nearly $800,000 to Assist People with Parkinson’s in Arizona
NEW YORK & MIAMI (March 7, 2023) — The Parkinson’s Foundation has received a grant of nearly $800,000 from the Pat Simone Charitable Foundation, Inc. to fund research at Barrow Neurological Institute, which includes the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. The grant aims to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in Arizona by funding promising scientists conducting innovative research and increasing local participation in PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease.
Nearly 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with PD each year, and one million people in the U.S. live with PD – a number expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030. The work at Barrow has the potential to improve the lives of the local PD community—an estimated 18,000 people who live with PD in Arizona.
“We are pleased to receive this significant grant from the Pat Simone Charitable Foundation, Inc. to fund promising research and to expand our genetics study to better serve the Arizona Parkinson’s community,” said John L. Lehr, president and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “This investment will further strengthen our long-standing collaboration and shared goals with the Barrow Neurological Institute.”
The grant will support the research efforts of Fredric Manfredsson, PhD, associate professor in Barrow’s department of Translational Neuroscience, and Kimberly Meyers, PhD, Barrow postdoctoral fellow. Together, Drs. Manfredsson and Meyers study whether a therapy targeting a protein called ACMSD can reduce brain inflammation and prevent the loss of brain cells. Dr. Meyers received a prestigious Parkinson’s Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for Basic Scientists in support of this study.
“In pilot preclinical studies, we have had remarkably encouraging results using ACMSD therapy. Targeting this pathway holds tremendous explanatory power if one looks at clinical data,” says Dr Manfredsson. “However, without these funds it would not be possible to expand our experimentation and fully investigate the therapeutic potential of ACMSD in Parkinson’s disease.”
Additionally, funding will expand local participation in PD GENEration, offering genetic testing and counseling (in English and Spanish) at no cost for people with PD in Arizona. Genetic testing can help people with PD and their clinicians identify whether they may qualify for enrollment in certain clinical trials.
“We know that genetic testing is a critical tool for understanding the puzzle of Parkinson’s disease,” said Mark Grayson, President of the Pat Simone Charitable Foundation, Inc. “We are thrilled to support the Parkinson’s Foundation and hope that many people with Parkinson’s will benefit from this research.”
To learn more about PD GENEration, visit Parkinson.org/PDGENEration or call 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).
About the Parkinson’s Foundation
The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $425 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or call 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).
About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the U.S. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and nearly 90,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.