Michael J. Fox Foundation sponsored study seeks people in San Diego area without Parkinson's disease to participate in landmark biomarker study
SAN DIEGO, July 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- University of California, San Diego School of Medicine will be one of 23 official clinical sites of the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative's (PPMI) new arm to study at-risk populations for Parkinson's disease (PD). The $55 million landmark observational clinical study launched in 2010 to define one or more biomarkers of PD and now seeks to better understand potential risk factors of the disease. The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has been a part of PPMI for three years and is currently enrolling for the new, pre-motor arm of the study.
The pre-motor arm of PPMI will enroll participants who do not have Parkinson's disease and are living with one of three potential risk factors for PD: a reduced sense of smell (hyposmia); rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD); or a mutation in the LRRK2 gene (the single greatest genetic contributor to PD known to date). Validating these risk factors could not only enable earlier detection of the disease, but open new avenues in the quest for therapies that could slow or stop disease progression.
"Understanding risk factors for Parkinson's disease could help to identify therapies that may prevent the onset of motor symptoms in future generations of PD patients," said Douglas Galasko, MD, the principal investigator for the study at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
Local residents can easily get involved in this research by being one of 10,000 individuals needed to complete a brief online survey (www.michaeljfox.org/takethesmellsurvey) about their sense of smell. People over the age of 60 who do not have Parkinson's disease are needed to take the survey. Most respondents will be sent a scratch-and-sniff smell test and brief questionnaire in the mail to be completed at home. Some individuals may also be asked to undergo more extensive testing.
"In the third year of PPMI, it is evident that a large-scale biomarker study is not only possible in Parkinson's disease, but is already yielding scientific insights that could help transform the field of Parkinson's research," said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. "None of this progress would be possible without the willing volunteers who donate their time and energy to the pursuit of a cure."
About The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)
The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is a $55-million international clinical study sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and funded by a consortium of 13 industry partners in conjunction with MJFF. Launched in 2010, PPMI aims to find reliable and consistent biomarkers of Parkinson's disease (PD) progression. The study is testing today's most promising biomarker candidates through neuroimaging, the collection of blood, urine, and spinal fluid, and clinical and behavioral tests. Valid measures could allow scientists to predict, objectively diagnose and monitor diseases in both Parkinson's disease patients and populations at-risk to developing Parkinson's. In April 2013, PPMI completed the recruitment of 400 newly diagnosed PD patients and 200 control subjects and announced the addition of a new arm to investigate potential risk factors of the disease. Using the same infrastructure and protocols, the pre-motor arm of PPMI is evaluating three at-risk cohorts: individuals with decreased sense of smell (hyposmia), people diagnosed with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), and those with a LRRK2 genetic mutation (the single greatest genetic contributor known to date).
Researchers interested in applying for access to PPMI data and biospecimens should visit www.ppmi-info.org.
About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
As the world's largest private funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $325 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the Foundation forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool, Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world.
About University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
University of California, San Diego Health Sciences comprises clinical and academic entities – UC San Diego Health System, the region's only academic health system; UC San Diego School of Medicine, one of the nation's top research-intensive schools of medicine; and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ranks UC San Diego Health Sciences as one of the top two institutions in research funding per faculty member, and the School of Medicine is listed ninth in total NIH research funding. Part of the University of California system, UC San Diego – founded in 1960 – is renowned for collaborative and cross-disciplinary research that transcends traditional boundaries in science, engineering and the humanities.
SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research