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Michael J. Fox reflects on the progress made in ultimately finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease

Since publicly disclosing his 1991 diagnosis and launching the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000, actor Michael J. Fox, 59, has been an advocate in the crusade to find a cure. 

Partnered with Shake It Up Australia Foundation, an aggressively funded research agenda to the value of over $15million (AUD), has ensured not only the fight to find a cure, but also the development of improved therapies for those with the disease.   

In a statement to Daily Mail Australia for World Parkinson’s Day, this Sunday April 11, Michael said he’s ‘absolutely certain’ they are ‘tip of the spear’ in finding a cure. 

‘We’re tip of the spear’: Michael J. Fox, 59, reflected on progress made in ultimately finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease – as the latest groundbreaking research in Australia is revealed. Pictured in 2015

The Michael J. Fox Foundation has already funded $1billion (USD) in research in under 20 years.   

‘One billion dollars is a lot of money, and twenty years seems like a long time, but in research terms, we’re high-velocity,’ Michael said.

He continued: ‘In the quest to cure Parkinson’s, we’re absolutely certain we are the tip of the spear.’   

In 2006, his foundation donated just under $1million (USD) to the University of Melbourne to aid further research, and soon after formed a partnership with Shake It Up Australia foundation, founded in 2011 by Clyde Campbell. 

Advocate: The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded $1billion (USD) in research in under 20 years. 'One billion dollars is a lot of money, and twenty years seems like a long time, but in research terms, we're high-velocity. In the quest to cure Parkinson's, we're absolutely certain we are the tip of the spear,' Michael said. Pictured with wife Tracy Pollan in 2019

Advocate: The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded $1billion (USD) in research in under 20 years. ‘One billion dollars is a lot of money, and twenty years seems like a long time, but in research terms, we’re high-velocity. In the quest to cure Parkinson’s, we’re absolutely certain we are the tip of the spear,’ Michael said. Pictured with wife Tracy Pollan in 2019

In the 10 years since Shake It Up’s inception, the foundation, co-funded with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, has enabled research projects across 13 Australian research institutes to the value of over $15million (AUD).  

In Australia, there are over 100,00 living with Parkinson’s Disease, and a further person diagnosed every 40 minutes. 

Groundbreaking research, led by Dr Richard Gordon at the University of Queensland, shows that changes in gut function often come years before the onset of symptoms. 

A significant issue for those with the disease is a slow-down in digestive tract movement, leading to constipation.  

Queensland researchers, backed by Advance Queensland, have begun a human trial in South East Queensland to treat constipation and gut dysfunction.

Groundbreaking research: The Michael J. Fox Foundation has formed a partnership with Shake It Up Australia foundation, founded in 2011 by Clyde Campbell (pictured). The latest groundbreaking research from the University of Queensland shows that changes in gut function often come years before the onset of symptoms

Groundbreaking research: The Michael J. Fox Foundation has formed a partnership with Shake It Up Australia foundation, founded in 2011 by Clyde Campbell (pictured). The latest groundbreaking research from the University of Queensland shows that changes in gut function often come years before the onset of symptoms 

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

* A progressive, degenerative neurological condition that affects a person’s control of their body movements

* The disease affects an estimated 10 million individuals worldwide – 100,000 in Australia 

* Symptoms can include slowed movement (bradykinesia), rigid muscles, resting tremors, sleep difficulties, a loss of smell, apathy and fatigue

Source: Shake It Up Australia Foundation  

The research team have screened more than 20 people with Parkinson’s who have expressed interest in the trial.

It will determine if a new treatment can restore beneficial gut microbiome species and improve symptoms such as constipation in Parkinson’s disease patients. 

Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said ‘the trial will determine if a targeted treatment can restore specific beneficial gut bacteria that are known to be substantially reduced in people with Parkinson’s’. 

Clyde Campbell said: ‘The gut microbiome is emerging as an important area for Parkinson’s research,’ adding that he’s excited to be supporting researchers in Queensland to ‘accelerate new treatments targeting the microbiome’. 

Shake It Up invites Australians to Pause 4 Parkinson’s this April, and draw awareness by donating or hosting a fundraising event with family, friends and colleagues.  

To get involved with the Michael J. Fox Foundation this month, including virtual ways to connect, visit the Parkinson’s Awareness Month activities page.       

Worthy cause: World Parkinson's Day is this Sunday, April 11. Shake It Up Australia Foundation invites Australians to Pause 4 Parkinson's this April, and draw awareness by donating or hosting a fundraising event with family, friends and colleagues

Worthy cause: World Parkinson’s Day is this Sunday, April 11. Shake It Up Australia Foundation invites Australians to Pause 4 Parkinson’s this April, and draw awareness by donating or hosting a fundraising event with family, friends and colleagues 


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