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Letters

Fox Foundation committed to moving rapidly and carefully on Parkinson’s drug trial

In response to “The patients wait” (Business, Aug. 31): No delay has been introduced in the timeline to a Phase 2 trial of nilotinib as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease on the part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. More important, it is too early to deem nilotinib a miracle or to predict how it will ultimately stack up against the current crop of potential breakthroughs in the Parkinson’s drug pipeline.

We and our skilled collaborators are committed to answering critical scientific questions about the drug through a study of the highest quality to provide clear data for patients and physicians. While multisite, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials require immense work to plan, our coalition’s ambitious goal of launching a trial in 2017 reflects our commitment to move rapidly without compromising scientific rigor or participant safety.

Unfortunately, the greatest impact of this story may have been to hype the drug before it has been fully demonstrated to be effective and, crucially, safe for people with Parkinson’s. We regret that Dr. Charbel Moussa has chosen to level accusations against us in the press. But we bear him no ill will. Last month we granted him $290,000 for research on a separate topic. As in all his work on behalf of people with Parkinson’s, we will be rooting for his continued success.

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Todd Sherer
Chief executive officer
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
New York