U.K. nonprofits offering funding for novel Parkinson's targets

The U.K. technology transfer organization MRC Technology and the nonprofit Parkinson's UK are partnering in the search for new therapeutic targets to slow, stop or reverse the progression of Parkinson's disease.

The organizations said they plan to fund one or two projects for validation and proof-of-concept studies prior to initiation of a full-scale drug-discovery project. Parkinson's UK will fund selected projects, awarding up to £150,000 ($231,780) over two years to researchers.

Once the projects are completed, they will be evaluated for development in MRC Technology's Centre for Therapeutic Discovery to generate small molecules or therapeutic antibodies against the targets.

There is no cure for Parkinson's, but modern treatments--levodopa and dopamine agonists--are effective at managing early motor symptoms of the disease. As the Parkinson's progresses, though, patients lose more dopaminergic neurons, and drugs eventually become ineffective. Once the drugs lose effectiveness, they can cause a disorder called dyskinesia characterized by incontrollable movements.

MRC Technology, an arm of the U.K.'s Medical Research Council, has helped pharma and biotech companies put 12 drugs on the market, including Tysabri and Avastin. MRC Technology said the collaboration opens its labs up to a new source of targets from the Parkinson's research field.

- read the press release
- interested researchers can visit the website