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The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (or ASAP) initiative is a major new source of funding for Parkinson’s research. And I mean MAJOR!
Set up by the Brin family foundation, ASAP is a global basic research initiative focused on fostering collaboration and resources to better understand the underlying causes of Parkinson’s. A return to basics in order to get a better grip on the biology of the disease.
Recently, the initiative announced their first round of grant awardees – handing out US$161 million for 3 year projects. This is one of the largest single rounds of research funding for Parkinson’s research ever!
In today’s post, we will look at what ASAP is, what the awarded projects will be investigating, and what this means for Parkinson’s research.
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Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Source: Emaze
Two years ago, key Parkinson’s researchers and advocates from around the world were invited to the Milken Institute Center in for a large meeting that was organised to map out the foundations of a major new Parkinson’s research program that was to be called Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (or ASAP – click here to read a previous SoPD post on this initiative).
The Brin family has been affected by Parkinson’s – Sergey’s mother and aunt have both been diagnosed with the condition, and Sergey has a genetic risk factor that increases his risk of developing Parkinson’s.
The Brin Family – Sergey and his mother on the right. Source: CS
Sergey and his mother both carry a genetic variation (G2019S) in a region of DNA called PARK8. It is also known as Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (or simply LRRK2 – pronounced ‘lark 2’). The variant increases the risk of developing a young-onset, slow progressing form of Parkinson’s (Click here to read a previous SoPD post on LRRK2).
Sergey may never actually develop the condition, but he has decided not to take any chances. He has taken out an “insurance policy” by investing hundreds of millions of dollars into Parkinson’s research.
Part of that insurance policy is ASAP.
And this week, the organisation made a major announcement.
What did they announce?