Popular actor Michael J Fox has pledged £100,000 in funding towards the development of a new app for monitoring Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
The Hollywood actor, who lives with the long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, has given the money to a University of London researcher.
It is hoped that the funding will allow the app-based concept, which can record symptoms of sufferers and monitor their progression, to be rolled out.
The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), created in 2000, has dished out more than $750 million (£530m) in research funding.
Fox, who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s in 1991 aged 29, is hopeful that scientists can eventually discover a cure for the disease.
His latest investment has gone to Professor George Roussos, from Birkbeck’s School of Business, Economics and Informatics who developed smartphone and wearable-device apps in 2013 that are able to record Parkinson’s sufferers’ motor symptoms.
The app was designed to be used by patients at home, allowing them to record their own movements – such as by tapping their smartphone screen to assess their speed reflexes, or by placing the phone on their knee to measure tremors.
Fox’s funding will enable Professor Roussos to develop a software toolkit that would be used to analyse data from his cloudUPDRS apps, which researchers will use towards clinical assessments.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.