Continuing the spirit of sharing that has made studies such as the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative so informative for the field at large, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease (MJFF) offers free access to tissue samples and accompanying data, and the funds to study them. The materials come from nine PD studies, many of them also funded by MJFF. In December, MJFF will conduct its final review of this year's submissions for access to biospecimens or data and for grants of up to $250,000 over two years. Applications must be received by November 25. The foundation will review additional research proposals on a bimonthly basis starting next year.
MJFF aims to further research on therapeutic and disease-modifying treatments. Up for grabs in this initiative are clinical test results, brain images, and samples of cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and nucleic acid from the 600 participants in the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (see ARF related news story); more than 30 types of tissue from each of 15 PD rodent models; brain and spinal tissue samples from Rush University's Brain Bank; and 24-hour blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) data from a small group of PD patients and controls.
In addition, researchers can request data from four other studies. The LRRK2 Cohort Consortium gathers longitudinal biomarker data on people with and without PD who carry mutations in the LRRK2 gene (see ARF related news story). The BioFIND study collects cross-sectional neuropsychological, CSF, blood, sleep, and movement data from 240 PD patients and controls. The Arizona Parkinson's Disease Consortium has post-mortem tissue and cognitive test results from healthy brain and body donors, as well as people with PD, Lewy body dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease with Lewy bodies. Researchers can also analyze the CSF, urine, and serum data from DATATOP, a one-year intervention trial conducted in the 1980s that tested the small-molecule drug Deprenyl and tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, in 800 PD patients. Finally, the PD Smartphone Data Challenge collects data from the location and motion sensors on patients' smartphones.
For details about the databases and application procedures, go to the MJFF website.—Gwyneth Dickey Zakaib
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