Progress in Parkinson's disease (PD) research and therapeutic development is hindered by many challenges, including a need for robust preclinical animal models. Limited availability of these tools is due to technical hurdles, patent issues, licensing restrictions and the high costs associated with generating and distributing these animal models. Furthermore, the lack of standardization of phenotypic characterization and use of varying methodologies has made it difficult to compare outcome measures across laboratories. In response, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) is directly sponsoring the generation, characterization and distribution of preclinical rodent models, enabling increased access to these crucial tools in order to accelerate PD research. To date, MJFF has initiated and funded the generation of 30 different models, which include transgenic or knockout models of PD-relevant genes such as Park1 (also known as Park4 and SNCA), Park8 (LRRK2), Park7 (DJ-1), Park6 (PINK1), Park2 (Parkin), VPS35, EiF4G1 and GBA. The phenotypic characterization of these animals is performed in a uniform and streamlined manner at independent contract research organizations. Finally, MJFF created a central repository at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) that houses both non-MJFF and MJFF-generated preclinical animal models. Funding from MJFF, which subsidizes the costs involved in transfer, rederivation and colony expansion, has directly resulted in over 2500 rodents being distributed to the PD community for research use.
- Received February 28, 2013.
- Accepted July 31, 2013.
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