A GODMANCHESTER-based drug developing company is to receive a $1.16million grant from the Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) to fund research into finding a cure for Parkinson s. The cash will be used by Phytopharm, in West Street, to pay for trials to deter

A GODMANCHESTER-based drug developing company is to receive a $1.16million grant from the Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) to fund research into finding a cure for Parkinson's.

The cash will be used by Phytopharm, in West Street, to pay for trials to determine the most effective dose of the drug Cogane.

The funding will be paid over a period of two years and will test how Cogane can stimulate proteins in the brain, which are said to reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Dr Daryl Rees, chief executive officer of Phytpharm, which makes products from plants, said: "We are very pleased that the Michael J Fox Foundation is supporting the potential of Cogane with this award.

"This will allow us to optimise the oral dosing requirements for this promising therapy."

Presently, there is no known cure for Parkinson's, which is said to affect about one in 500 people. There are, however, a number of drugs reported to ease its symptoms.

If Phytopharm succeeds with its trials, the company would have a unique product and believes - as reported in The Hunts Post last summer - that it could develop a pill to cure Parkinson's within five years.

Katie Hood, chief executive officer of MJFF, said Phytopharm's trials into Cogane are "critical in realising the potential of these proteins to restore motor function and increase quality of life for patients".

The foundation was set up in 2000 by Hollywood actor Michael J Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991. Since then, it has donated more than $112million to research.

INFORMATION: Visit www.michaeljfox.org or www.phytopharm.co.uk