Development and Initial Characterization of an Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay for the Candidate PD Risk Marker ST13
Rapid Response Innovation Awards, 2007
Clinical signs of Parkinson’s disease develop only after the death of around 70 percent of vulnerable dopaminergic neurons. Laboratory tests for PD are not currently available, but would allow the early detection of PD risk, and would be critical for clinical trials of drugs designed to prevent or delay the disease. We identified a small set of genes whose activity levels are altered in blood of people with PD using a gene chip scan (Scherzer et al., PNAS, 2007). One of the genes most underexpressed in patients with PD was the chaperone ST13.
ST13 activates heat shock protein 70, a molecule known to protect neurons from the toxic effects of alpha-synuclein in animal models of PD. We thus hypothesize that low levels of ST13 may indicate high risk of developing PD. Here we will build a laboratory blood test for ST13 on a widely available platform that is suitable for clinically useful research.
Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease/Anticipated Outcome:
This reliable and accurate test will allow to determine in longitudinal studies, whether low blood levels of ST13 predict risk of future PD. If confirmed, the risk marker combined with a risk-modifying therapeutic may prevent debilitating symptoms of PD from ever appearing.
It proved difficult to establish an assay to detect levels of ST13 protein. Available commercial antibodies proved not to be useful. The contract research organization Open Biosystems was contracted to assist with production of monoclonal and polyclonal anti-ST13 antibodies.
Head of the Neurogenomics Lab and the Parkinson Personalized Medicine Initiative at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States