To keep the biomarker search moving forward, and to provide science with the most shots on goal as possible, it is critical to continue to identify possible markers. The outcome is a first-of-its-kind collaboration called BioFIND, a multi-site study exclusively focused on identifying entirely new PD biomarkers, driven by MJFF and the NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Once discovered, these leads will be seamlessly integrated into the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) to be validated for PD. MJFF will invest about $1 million and play an active role in the day-to-day management of the study, and NIH will provide the biorepository.
While both PPMI and BioFIND seek controls to participate, there’s an important difference in terms of those PD patients who can participate in this study: PPMI engages those who have been newly diagnosed with PD; BioFIND, however, is searching for people who have had PD for at least five years, and for no more than 15 years. (They should also be between the ages of 55 and 85.)
Since its inception, MJFF has invested $65 million in the pursuit of a Parkinson’s biomarker — a substance, process or characteristic associated with the risk or presence of the disease. Finding consistent Parkinson’s biomarkers would allow scientists to predict, diagnose and monitor the disease, and determine which medications might work and which won’t. A biomarker would be an invaluable tool to the development of new treatments for patients.
In 2010, MJFF launched PPMI. With enrollment of patients and controls expected to be complete in early 2013, more than 30,000 data downloads have been made for studies across the globe. Today, many of these associated studies are aimed at validating potential biomarkers that researchers have identified in the lab. PPMI has provided the infrastructure for the first multi-site corroborations of observations culled from previous studies conducted at single sites.
To learn more about BioFIND, visit foxtrialfinder.michaeljfox.org/biofind.