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Janssen to Fund Research/Modeling for Multiple Sclerosis

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Janssen Research and Development, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson in Titusville, New Jersey, will sponsor a research and systems modeling project to uncover the genetic and biologic causes of multiple sclerosis. The $5.4 million initiative will be part of Janssen’s Healthy Minds initiative, a program launched in 2011 to accelerate progress on neurologic and brain disorders, and conducted with the Marin Community Foundation.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, and affects women more than men. The disease is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells, causing nerve signals slow down or stop. The nerve damage is caused by inflammation, which occurs when the body’s own immune cells attack the nervous system.

The Marin Community Foundation’s Multiple Sclerosis Project Fund will create a network of public and private research collaborators to enable data sharing and integration of scientific research using advanced computer-based systems modeling tools and analytics. The alliance is expected to expand and refine knowledge of multiple sclerosis and advance new approaches to treating disease with the identification of new targets, biomarkers, and methods for treatment.

Janssen began its Healthy Minds initiative in November 2011, which involves $3 million in direct and challenge contributions to support the One Mind for Research project that fosters neuroscience research, education, and awareness-building programs. Under Healthy Minds, Janssen committed to participate in efforts by One Mind for Research to create collaborative neuroscience networks and data-sharing programs that enhance basic discovery and speed clinical translation.

Marin Community Foundation makes grants and loans to support community issues in Marin County, California as well as issues affecting the U.S. and around the world, managing some $1 billion in assets and distributes about $50 million annually in grants. The foundation has supported neuroscience research and development, including the establishment of the Buck Institute for Age Research, one of the first independent research facilities in the U.S. focused on understanding the connection between aging and chronic disease.

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