Fox makes plea for more support of open-source biomarker efforts

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has committed a significant amount of money to fund the work of the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative, a team effort aimed at finding biomarkers that can be used to identify the disease at an early stage and track its progress as the disease worsens. And those biomarkers are essential tools needed by drug developers.

The actor and founder of the foundation has been writing in support of the five-year initiative, noting that "these are fundamental needs in the development of next-generation treatments for Parkinson's. Simply put, though we've made real therapeutic advances already, finding a biomarker would blow the roof off what we've been able to do so far."

Fox made an impassioned plea for more resources to back collaborative, open-source projects like PPMI and the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative, which has also been focused on finding new biomarkers. PPMI's principal investigator is Ken Marek, MD, president and senior scientist of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease.

"There is no Department or Secretary of Cures," writes Fox. "It's us."

- here's the column from the Philadelphia Daily News