UC San Diego is helping expand Parkinson’s progression marker initiative


After a decade of groundbreaking research, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) will see a significant expansion. The clinical trial is entering its most ambitious phase to date and will increase the number of clinical recruits from 1,400 to 4,000 participants by the end of 2023. This is the latest step in PPMI’s mission to maintain the world’s most robust openly accessible Parkinson’s disease record.

The University of California San Diego School of Medicine joined PPMI shortly after its launch in 2010 and is now one of nearly 50 clinical sites worldwide participating in the expansion. The international effort is aimed at identifying biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease in order to advance the development of better treatments, potential cures, and possibly even prevention of the disease.

The UC San Diego School of Medicine is now recruiting adults with and without Parkinson’s disease to participate in the Michael J. Fox Foundation-sponsored Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative. Photo credit: The Michael J. Fox Foundation

“When the foundation was established in 2000, we wanted to change the way Parkinson’s research went,” said founder and actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with the disease in 1991.

“Two decades later, I am proud that we have continued to rise to this challenge and have become more than just a research facility, but a space where patients can bring their wisdom and energy. The expansion of PPMI is about doing this achieve to cure Parkinson’s, cook. ” up to a biomarker that we can identify early on and prevent the disease from ever affecting another family. “

The UC San Diego School of Medicine is now recruiting people recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and people aged 60 and over who do not have the disease but live with certain risk factors, including genetics, gender, head trauma, and exposure to certain environmental toxins.

Participants will undergo tests, including motor, neuropsychiatric, and cognitive exams; Brain imaging with DaTscan and MRI; and blood, urine, liquor and DNA sampling.

In addition to the 4,000 clinical trial participants, PPMI is also recruiting up to 100,000 additional participants to contribute via the Internet. The foundation has set up an online platform that anyone over the age of 18 with or without Parkinson’s can participate.

“PPMI is revolutionizing the understanding of Parkinson’s biology in this area,” said Douglas Galasko, MD, PPMI Principal Investigator, Co-Director of the Shiley Marcos Research Center on Alzheimer’s Disease, and Professor in the Department of Neurosciences at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We have already received incredibly rich information that no other study had, but there is a lot more to discover.”

The latest iteration of the study will benefit from new research tools that did not exist to begin with, including advanced brain imaging techniques, new cognitive assessments, and wearable digital devices for tracking motor movements.

The results will not only inspire new biological targets for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, said Galasko, but also increase the efficiency of clinical trials.

“One of the biggest things we found out in the first few studies was that Parkinson’s looks a little different in everyone. This variability makes it difficult for clinical trials to assess whether a treatment is actually working. By developing stricter measures to track disease progression, we can help reduce clinical trials with fewer participants and make faster decisions about whether a drug or therapy is effective. “

Galasko also highlighted the importance of the PPMI approach in studying the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. The earlier doctors can intervene, the greater the chance of slowing the progression of the disease and increasing the quality of life for patients.

The variability in disease severity inspired another aspect of the UC San Diego School of Medicine’s recruiting plans.

“We are particularly interested in the employees we hire reflect the diversity of the people who live in San Diego and southern California,” said Galasko. “Much of what we have learned about Parkinson’s so far comes from study populations that do not fully represent all people living with the disease. In this next phase of recruitment, we are trying to better understand the disease in people from all backgrounds. “

UC San Diego is recruiting from the Southern California area and working with attendees to arrange transportation and accommodation for clinic visits.

For more information on how to enroll in PPMI, please contact Shawnees Peacock Site Coordinator at 877-525-PPMI or [email protected] or visit the PPMI website.

About the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson Research (MJFF)
As the world’s largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s research, the Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improving therapies for people living with the disease today. The foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement from scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding research of $ 1.5 billion so far, the foundation has fundamentally changed the path of progress towards a cure. The foundation operates at the center of global Parkinson’s research and forges groundbreaking collaborations with industry leaders, academic researchers and government research funders; Creates Robust Open Access Dataset and Biosample Library to Accelerate Scientific Breakthroughs and Treatments with Groundbreaking Clinical Trial, PPMI; Increases Participation in Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Trials Using Its Fox Trial Finder Online Tool; promotes Parkinson’s awareness through high-profile advocacy, events, and outreach; and coordinates the engagement of thousands of Team Fox members around the world at grassroots level. For more information visit us at www.michaeljfox.org, Facebook,
Twitter, or LinkedIn.


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