Michael J. Fox Foundation offers $2 million for new Parkinson's imaging test

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The Michael J. Fox Foundation is offering $2 million for any team that can invent a specific process to contribute to Parkinson’s diesease research.

The innovation the foundation is looking for is an imaging technique called a PET tracer, modified to highlight a Parkinson’s-related protein called alpha-synuclein in a living person’s brain, according to a statement released by the organization.

The foundation explained that several new treatments are in development to treat the alpha-synuclein protein, the buildup of which many researchers believe can contribute to Parkinson’s disease. But physicians need a better way to detect that protein in order to treat it. A new test such as the PET tracer, which is a nuclear imaging process, would speed up such detection.

Michael J. Fox Foundation Director of Research Programs Jamie Eberling, PhD, said in a statement, “The ability to image alpha-synuclein in the brain would be a game-changer for Parkinson's translational research and would rapidly accelerate testing of therapies to slow or stop disease progression.”

The contest is open to anyone, and there is no deadline to apply. The rules do say, however, that any potential winners must be willing to allow the foundation to use their test.