Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

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Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

If Alzheimer’s disease were a national economy it would rank #17

Alzheimers diseaseReports continue to highlight Alzheimer’s disease as a priority for our nation and the world. As Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D., of the Duke University Institute for Brain Sciences described during the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Alzheimer’s represents an enormous threat to public health. 

With the numbers and costs of people impacted by Alzheimer’s rising, so becomes the importance of finding connections among related neurodegenerative diseases, from early childhood genetic diseases to late life diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. If you know someone affected by Alzheimer’s, then you know someone connected to mitochondrial disease. 
The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine is funding research that will impact both of these diseases. Check out FMM’s recent award to Dr. James Bennett, of Virginia Commonwealth University. FMM’s collaborative strategy to co-fund treatment research with related disease groups, such as the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, means research dollars go farther and thus, the potential exists for the rising tide to lift multiple boats.

 

alzheimers-disease-webMitochondrial dysfunction has surfaced as one of the most discussed hypotheses acting as a trigger for the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. Mitochondria assume central functions in the cell, including ATP production, calcium homeostasis, reactive oxygen species generation, and apoptotic signaling. Although their role as the cause of the disease may be controversial, there is no doubt that mitochondrial dysfunction, abnormal mitochondrial dynamics and degradation by mitophagy occur during the disease process, contributing to its onset and progression.

Click here to learn more about the relationship between Alzheimer’s and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine Partner to Support Novel Research for Mitochondrial-Directed Therapies

Research could lead to development of new therapies to treat a variety of mitochondrial diseases, including Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease

Dr. James Bennett

ATLANTA and NEW YORK, February 26, 2014 – The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM) announced today that they have awarded $200,000 in funding to James Bennett, M.D, Ph.D. to further research gene therapy of mitochondrial protein in the brains of mice with experimental Alzheimer’s disease. Bennett is studying rhTFAM, a novel human mitochondrial protein shown to increase mitochondrial function in cell and animal models. The protein has shown to restore memory function of aged mice while increasing mitochondrial function in brains, suggesting it has great potential to do the same in humans with impaired cognition and early Alzheimer’s disease.

rhTFAM was invented and is being developed commercially by Gencia Corporation, located in Charlottesville, Va. Bennett’s research will provide critical data to support the use of rhTFAM in the use of humans.

Mitochondria dysfunction underlies many different diseases. The brain is particularly vulnerable to changes in energy use that occur with age or because of underlying disease pathology.  Previous research has shown that mitochondrial in the brain are dysfunctional in early stage of Alzheimer’s, and these changes contribute to the later loss of mitochondrial function and the onset and progression of the disease.

“Novel therapies that can correct defects in mitochondria functioning have the potential to impact many different diseases,” said Bennett.  “Thanks to funding support from ADDF and FMM, I’m able to continue my research into one of these novel therapies and determine possible implications for its use in a variety of areas, from early childhood genetic diseases to late-life neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.”

“We are delighted to support Dr. Bennett’s research involving the rhTFAM mitochondrial protein and the potential it has to impact the progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Diana Shineman, Ph.D., director of Scientific Affairs for ADDF. “The translational nature of Dr. Bennett’s research could have critical applications beyond Alzheimer’s disease to other related disorders that affect millions of Americans.”

“We are pleased to partner with ADDF and ensure that Dr. Bennett’s innovative, translation research is conducted,” said Laura Stanley, executive director of FMM. “Our mission is to fund the most promising treatments for the many forms of mitochondrial disease. Research like Dr. Bennett’s can unlock potential cures for many related diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Parkinson’s disease and others.”

Bennett holds the Bemiss Chair and is founding director of the Virginia Commonwealth University  Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center.  Bennett has held several individual NIH grants and has led two multi-investigator NIH Programs. He oversaw projects and directed the NIH-funded University of Virginia Udall Parkinson’s Research Center of Excellence for ten years.  He has over 140 peer-reviewed publications that have encompassed Parkinson’s pharmacology and mitochondrial mechanisms of neurodegeneration.  He has held multiple Investigational New Drug (IND) applications and is the inventor of worldwide patents involving use of a novel neuroprotective drug. His current research involves the molecular biology and pharmacology of mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s diseases (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He graduated from the University of Florida in 1970 with a BS in Chemistry (with Honors). He attended Johns Hopkins University Medical School and received his M.D. degree in 1974 and Ph.D. in Pharmacology in 1977.

 

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About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF):  The mission of the ADDF is to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s diseases, related dementias and cognitive aging.  The ADDF has granted more than $65 million to fund nearly 450 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. For more information, visit www.AlzDiscovery.org.

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About the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM):  The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine’s mission is to support the development of the most promising research and treatments for the many forms of mitochondrial disease.  Cures for mitochondrial diseases could impact cures for Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease among others.  For more information on FMM funded research such as functional MRI studies on cognitive fatigue and testing of new drug compounds, visit www.mitochondrialdiseases.org

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About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research.  Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of VCU comprise the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.

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Media Contacts:

ADDF: Michael Grela, mgrela@kyne.com, 212.594.5500

FMM:  Jennifer Grizzle, jennifer@theprstudio.com, 770.409.1152

VCU:  Frances Dumenci, fdumenci@vcu.edu, 804.828.7701

Accelerating Medicines Partnership Brings New Opportunities for Drug Discovery

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It is very exciting to see the latest announcement from the NIH which represents a new strategy to combine forces and funds of three significant groups: the National Institute of Health, biopharmaceutical companies and several non-profit organizations. Pilot projects will focus on three key areas: 1) Alzheimer’s disease 2) type 2 diabetes, and 3) rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Their goal is to increase new therapies and diagnostics. We applaud the approach and are especially enthusiastic since two of the three focus areas have mitochondria as one of their core causes.

FMM is a firm believer in the cross-functional collaborative approach. In fact, our partnership with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to co-fund a “Mitochondrial Drug Discovery Project,” is an example of focusing on what we have in common—the mitochondria—and pooling resources to benefit everyone. Soon, we will be announcing the recipient of the FMM-ADDF award, along with more of these types of research joint ventures.

In the name of all of those with Alzheimer’s and mitochondrial disease, join our effort. Donate at hopeflies.org

The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine Joins the National #GivingTuesday Movement to Fund the Cures!

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The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine is participating in #GivingTuesday to help raise awareness about Mitochondrial Disease and other related diseases.   All funds raised on #GivingTuesday will go towards the Alzheimer’s Drug Discover Foundation (ADDF) and the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM)’s partnership to drive innovative translational research for mitochondrial dysfunction. To learn more about this partnership, click here.

a0d59274-1cdb-4144-8288-d6f30d2ccba9The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine has joined #GivingTuesday, a first of its kind effort that will harness the collective power of a unique blend of partners—charities, families, businesses and individuals— to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. Coinciding with the Thanksgiving Holiday and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, #GivingTuesday will inspire people to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they support and help create a better world. Taking place December 3,2013–the Tuesday after Thanksgiving–#GivingTuesday will harness the power of social media to create a national moment around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are,today,synonymous with holiday shopping.

To support FMM and #GivingTuesday, please donate on Tuesday, December 3, 2013!

CLICK HERE TO CONTRIBUTE

Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine Partner to Provide Grant for Drug Development for Novel Mitochondrial-Directed Therapies

ATLANTA, August 15, 2013 – The Alzheimer’s Drug Discover Foundation (ADDF) and the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM) announce a partnership to drive innovative translational research for mitochondrial dysfunction.  ADDF and FMM will provide grants in the range of $100,000 to $200,000 for a one-year duration with the possibility of follow-on funding.

Mitochondria dysfunction underlies many different diseases. The brain is particularly vulnerable to changes in energy use that occur with age or because of underlying disease pathology.  Novel therapies that can correct defects in mitochondria functioning have the potential to impact many different diseases – from early childhood genetic diseases to late-life neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Priority areas for the grant include the discovery and development of new drugs that alter mitochondria function; discovery and development of novel biomarkers of mitochondria dysfunction; validation of mitochondrial assays for drug discovery and development; and repurposing or screen existing drugs for activities related to mitochondria function.

Applications may be submitted by non-profit academic institutions and for-profit biotechnology companies, both public and private, worldwide. Funding to biotechnology companies is typically made as a program-related investment. Deadline date for applications is September 5, 2013. Submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) is required prior to August 22, 2013.

Applications will be confidentially reviewed by the ADDF, FMM and an external Scientific Review Committee.  Applications from biotechnology companies will also be reviewed by the ADDF’s external Business Advisory Board. Award winners will be publicly announced by spring 2014. All LOI and applications must be submitted electronically at www.alzdiscovery.org.  For further scientific or financial aspects of proposals, please contact Diana Shineman, PhD, Director of Scientific Affairs/ADDF, dshineman@alzdiscovery.org.  For more information on the
application process, contact Reena Vanjani, Grants Manager/ADDF,
rvanjani@alzdiscovery.org.

About the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF):  The mission of the ADDF  is to accelerate the discovery of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s diseases, related dementias and cognitive aging.  The ADDF has granted more than $62 million to fund nearly 415 Alzheimer’s drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 18 countries. For more information, visit www.AlzDiscovery.org.

About the Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine (FMM):  The Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine’s mission is to support the development of the most promising research and treatments for the many forms of mitochondrial disease.  Cures for mitochondrial diseases could impact cures for Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s disease among others.  For more information on FMM funded research such as functional MRI studies on cognitive fatigue and testing of new drug compounds, visit
www.mitochondrialdiseases.org

 

Media Contacts:
ADDF: Jayme Rubright, 212.901.8000, jrubright@alzdiscovery.org,
FMM:  Jennifer Grizzle, jennifer@theprstudio.com, 770.409.1152

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