What do actor Michael J. Fox, Nobel Prize Winner Randy Schekman, Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin, and molecular biologist Ekemini Riley all have in common? They are all working together to fund and perform research on Parkinson’s Disease.
For Brin and Fox, this research is personal. Both have been diagnosed with the disease.
Brin announced his diagnosis in 2008 and Michael J. Fox was diagnosed in 1991 and formed the non-profit, the Michael J Fox Foundation, in 2000 to take action.
Scientists Schekman and Riley, sponsored by Brin, created Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP). Their initiative works in close partnership with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to fund research on the neurological disease.
There are over 500,000 people in the U.S. alone diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and 8.5 million sufferers worldwide.
The research that is being funded and conducted by these organizations is instrumental to learning more and finding solutions to mitigate disease symptoms.
The Fox Foundation along with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania determined a spinal fluid test can accurately identify a toxic protein that builds up inside Parkinson’s patients.
This particular discovery can help in the discovery of new tests to monitor for the disease in its earliest stages.
Despite new research, there has yet to be significant strides in treatment for the disease.
According to a report by Bloomberg News, there have been at least a dozen medications or drug treatments that have all failed in their attempt to slow down the ravages of Parkinson’s.
This hasn’t stopped researchers from trying.
Fox told Bloomberg, “If we could find a drug that was designed to mitigate or relieve the progression in one genetic, one familial form of Parkinson’s,” he says, “that would be a tremendous victory.”
Many of the greatest medical and scientific minds across the world and in the U.S. have committed themselves to solving this issue. For many it may not happen in their lifetimes, but the drive to find a viable treatment and cure for this disease persists.