Big things are happening in Parkinson’s research.

CEO Todd Sherer from The Michael J. Fox Foundation shares an update on Parkinson’s research and how Patient Power is driving research forward.Todd Sherer

A handful of symptomatic therapies are moving toward patients and multiple disease-modifying medicines are in clinical trials. These advancements, decades in the making, are the result of significant Foundation investments made possible by your support and research participation.

As treatments progress, we must learn more about Parkinson’s disease (PD) and the impact of new drugs. Technology is helping us expand the scale and scope of these investigations, going wide to gather an unprecedented amount of data from thousands of people and deep to zoom in on some of the most powerful parts of our cells.

This information will help us move medicine forward faster and with greater likelihood to address patients’ greatest needs — developing personalized therapies against genetic mutations and other specific changes, selecting people most likely to benefit for trials, and defining impact on quality of life as patients (along with doctors) see it.

Cutting-edge technology can examine cellular activity in ever greater detail — not just DNA, but RNA and the countless proteins that carry out vital functions. These techniques are rapidly and radically altering what studies are possible and how quickly this work can be done, which could speed therapies and the search for an objective measure of PD.

We’ve started some of this work in our Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative study and are pursuing partnerships to do more. (Read more here.)

While we look at the deepest parts of the cells, we also need to listen to the broad Parkinson’s population. As you can read in our cover story, our online study Fox Insight aims to amplify the voice of Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones. The wisdom you contribute on the lived experience of PD — from symptom frequency to medication effects — can help researchers prioritize and design studies to address your most critical needs. And it’s easy to participate from your own home. I hope you will sign up at foxinsight.org.

High-tech approaches are critical to continued progress. But no technology can get us where we need to go without you — patients and families whose contributions are the engine driving us toward a future without Parkinson’s disease. Whether you join a study, advocate for federal research funding or financially support our work, you are making a difference. Thank you for all you do.

Shake It Up is proud to be partnering with The Michael J. Fox Foundation.   Together we have co-funded over $6M into Australian Parkinson’s research targeted at better treatments and ultimately a cure.  Find out more about our partnership and the research projects currently underway.

Todd Sherer