NEW YORK, May 31, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki announced a $50-million challenge spurring existing and new donors at every level to give, or increase giving, to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF). The Challenge is now in effect and will match all new or increased gifts to The Michael J. Fox Foundation on a one-to-one basis through year-end 2012.
The Brin Wojcicki Challenge will bolster MJFF's ongoing efforts to reshape drug development for Parkinson's disease. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has assembled a team with the expertise to continually identify the science closest and/or most critical to therapeutic breakthroughs, then designate or create the appropriate resources to push those research areas forward toward practical relevance for people living with the disease.
If the challenge is met, Ms. Wojcicki and Mr. Brin's personal giving to MJFF since 2004 will surpass $130 million. In addition to generally supporting the Foundation's research program expansion, their support has enabled MJFF to orchestrate and lead an integrated global effort to drive therapeutic development focused on the LRRK2 gene, the single greatest genetic contributor to Parkinson's disease discovered to date.
Mr. Brin carries the LRRK2 G2019S mutation that has been linked to a significant increase in risk for Parkinson's disease. His mother, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1999 and sits on the Foundation's Patient Council, also is a carrier of the mutation. MJFF funding programs enabled by Brin Wojcicki giving to date have resulted in the demonstration that LRRK2's kinase, or enzymatic, activity is required for the toxicity associated with Parkinson's disease (a finding with important implications for drug development) and the discovery of a powerful tool for detecting molecular changes in the LRRK2 gene associated with Parkinson's onset and progression.
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