Monday, May 13, 2013

Michael J. Fox Foundation & Their Approach to Clinical Research

Leading up to Partnerships in Clinical Trials 2013, we sat down with some of the visionaries from the clinical trials event to go in-depth on their goals and insights into the clinical trails field.  The Michael J. Fox Foundation is championing clinical trials in Parkinson's Disease finding ways to encourage participation and awareness of clinical trials.  Sohini Chowdhury, Senior Vice President of Research Partnerships at the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research sat down with us to share with us some of the insights and goals this foundations has for clinical trials awareness and participation.  Today, Sohini shares with us how the foundation operates on a non-profit basis.

Sohini Chowdhury,
As a non-profit organization, how does the Michael J. Fox Foundation approach clinical research?
That’s a great first question. MJFF’s approach to clinical research mirrors our general approach to research. That’s really built on four prongs. The first is that we focus on the unmet need within Parkinson's Disease. So, we know that one million individuals are affected by Parkinson's Disease in the U.S. and approximately 5-6 million worldwide. It’s the second most prevalent neurodegenerative disease and, unfortunately at the moment, there is no cure. So, that really provides us a context by which we think about clinical research. We need to find a cure and we need to find improved treatments for the disease. 
Our second prong—when you think about clinical research and again, research in general—is to be patient-focused. What is the breakthrough or the particular therapeutic that will really have an impact on a patient’s life? That could be the Holy Grail, as we like to call it—finding a cure. Or it could it be about finding a better treatment to lessen the current symptomatic aspects of the disease to be able to improve the quality of life for patients.
We also make sure that the research we fund—whether clinical or not—is transparent and accountable. We want to make sure that it is clear where our money is going and what our money is supporting. So, we make sure that the

Download the full interview with Sohini Chowdhary here.

Next week, we'll examine the challenges of patient recruitment.

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