The two Lundbeck research projects leverage company resources with added support from MJFF to develop potential new pharmaceuticals. The first project aims to develop a treatment that addresses the underlying disease mechanisms and which has the potential to prevent or alter the course of the disease. The purpose of the second project is to develop a symptomatic treatment without the motor side effects that characterize the existing treatment.
MJFF is among the world's leading knowledge centers in Parkinson's disease (PD), working toward a cure for the disease and better symptomatic treatments. The foundation—founded by actor Michael J. Fox, who has PD—has donated more than 345.5 million to Parkinson's disease research.
"Our Foundation exists to advance research toward better therapies for the millions of people living with PD," said Todd Sherer, Ph.D., MJFF CEO. "The two Lundbeck projects that we have recently funded show promise in making a true difference in the lives of these patients—through easing symptoms and halting disease."
The disease-modifying project centers on the alpha-synuclein protein. In all PD patients, alpha-synuclein over time creates changes in the brain, and it has for some time been assumed that disease progression may be slowed by affecting this protein.
In the other project, researchers seek to develop a treatment of some of the severe disease symptoms, focusing on an area in the brain that previously has not been investigated.
By affecting this receptor, Lundbeck seeks to develop a new type of drug which, unlike existing medical treatments, does not affect the dopamine receptors in the brain, and therefore is expected to not elicit motor side effects.
"We are focused on a so-called orphan G-protein coupled receptor in the part of the brain that controls our motor system, which PD has a severe effect on. We already have identified a number of small molecules that control the activity of this protein. We hope that we can use them to develop a new medication to alleviate the motor symptoms characteristic of PD without the side effects of the existing treatments," says Kim Andersen.