Michael J Fox says cure for Parkinson’s disease is ‘closer than ever’

Michael J Fox has claimed that a cure for Parkinson’s disease is “closer than it’s ever been”.

The Back to the Future star, 61, was diagnosed with the condition back in 1991, at the age of 29.

During an appearance on the ITV1 chat show Lorraine on Friday (12 May), Fox opened up about living with Parkinson’s, and spoke about the current medical advances being made in treating it.

“I feel [a cure is] closer than it’s ever been,” he told series host Lorraine Kelly. “I think we’ve found this biomarker which is huge, identifying the disease and therefore being able to treat it earlier.

“It was a gigantic breakthrough, we didn’t expect to make it this soon. We were working on it for a long time, 10 years ago we talked about it.”

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological condition in which the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years. Physical symptoms include involuntary shaking of body parts, otherwise known as a tremor, as well as a slowness of movement and other mobility issues.

Through his charitable foundation, The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the actor has raised more than $1.75bn (£1.39bn) for research into treating the illness.

Addressing his quality of life, Fox, who announced in 2020 that he was entering a “second retirement” from acting, said: “I’m thrilled with life, I love life. I’m a very happy person. It’s good, I’m 61 years old and that’s amazing in itself.

Michael J Fox on ‘Lorraine' (ITV)
Michael J Fox on ‘Lorraine' (ITV)

“I’m happy. I’m more happy than not. And I think it helps to be silly, I think you’ve got to be silly sometimes in the face of things that are really daunting and threatening. And you have to be compassionate for the people around you, look at what they’re going through.”

Fox had previously retired from full-time acting in the year 2000, to “focus on advocacy and fundraising for Parkinson’s disease”.

The actor also recently described the scene in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood that made him decide to quit acting again.

Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV1 and ITVX.