Cleveland Clinic recently was selected as a site for the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a landmark five-year research study sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation that aims to identify biomarkers of the disease.
PPMI is the first large-scale international research study exclusively focused on establishing the scientific infrastructure necessary to develop Parkinson's disease biomarkers. A biomarker is a substance, process or characteristic in our bodies that is associated with the risk or presence of a disease, or that changes over time in a way that can be linked to the progression of a disease.
Reliable and consistent biomarkers would allow scientists to predict, objectively diagnose and monitor diseases and definitively determine which medications work and which will not. There is no known biomarker for the progression of Parkinson's.
"Finding a biomarker would be a major game changer, because it could establish a critical endpoint for knowing the effectiveness of drugs. These are concrete ways to demonstrate that a treatment is, or is not, impacting the disease process in Parkinson's patients, as opposed to simply impacting disease symptoms," said Dr. Hubert Fernandez, head of movement disorders in the Center for Neurological Restoration at Cleveland Clinic, and site Principal Investigator for the PPMI study.
PPMI is an observational study as opposed to an interventional trial. No experimental drugs will be measured or used in this trial. Participants will be contributing to a large body of data and biological specimens that can be used to further biomarker research.
Cleveland Clinic's Center for Neurological Restoration has been responsible for many breakthroughs in treating Parkinson's disease, including being one of the earliest innovators for deep brain stimulation (DBS) and being able to offer relevant and cutting each clinical trials for all stages of Parkinson's from the newly diagnosed to the most advanced. The center is nationally recognized for expertise in medical management and innovations in the surgical treatment of movement disorders (Parkinson's disease, essential tremor or dystonia) as well as psychiatric disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.
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