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Saturday, November 29, 2008

A curmudgeon with a purpose: An activist disease foundation fighting Parkinson's Disease

He had long been the chief executive officer of Intel Corporation. Now Andrew Grove, 71, has Parkinson's Disease. So seven years ago, he launched the Grove Foundation, to combat Parkinson's. He also plays an ad hoc advisory role to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, to which he has donated $40 million. The creation of these two foundations in 2000 marked the beginning of targeted Parkinson's research.

At the time, Andrew thought that stem cell research would lead to a cure. By financing such research, which the government had decided not to do, he hoped to speed the cure.

While he is dissatisfied with progress to date, he realizes this approach has some unexpected results: "The most important thing we have figured out is the various things we didn't know and should have known."

As Joseph Nocera notes, "You have to be doing targeted research even to discover what you need to discover."

Andrew sees his role as being a curmudgeon with a purpose, whose job it is to push and prod and not let anyone become satisfied with the progress they have made.

His foundation is an activist disease foundation that is impatient with the pace of research and is using its money to stimulate researchers to advance in new ways.

Advice to those concerned about Parkinson's: Consider donating to an activist disease foundation.

Read a story about a similar effort against multiple sclerosis.

Thanks to Joseph Nocera for the source article in the New York Times of November 11.

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