Today The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) announced a challenge asking data scientists and computational analysts to work with researchers to answer fundamental questions about Parkinsonís that limit our understanding and slow drug testing.
The Parkinsonís Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) Data Challenge offers $25,000 each to two teams that develop models to answer either:
- What factors at baseline predict clinical progression? or
- What are the sub-types of Parkinsonís disease?
ďPPMI offers an unprecedented set of clinical, molecular and imaging data to construct models that will help better characterize Parkinsonís disease,Ē said Todd Sherer, PhD, MJFF CEO. ďThe variability of Parkinsonís challenges therapeutic development and testing; answers to these questions would help us target and treat this disease better and faster.Ē
The challenge leverages PPMI data to characterize this heterogeneous disease. Parkinsonís is highly variable, with age of onset, rate of progression, and type and severity of symptoms different across the 5 million worldwide living with the disease. Identifying models for prognosis and sub-typing would aid in subject selection for clinical studies and design of trials toward novel therapies.
Robust Dataset Ripe for Analyses
Launched in 2000, PPMI has enrolled nearly 1,000 participants: people with early-stage Parkinsonís, those with clinical risk factors (hyposmia, or smell loss, and REM sleep behavior disorder), carriers of genetic mutations associated with Parkinsonís (both individuals with the disease and without), and control volunteers. Over five years, participants undergo clinical assessments, contribute biological samples and complete imaging scans. After the initial five years, volunteers can continue contributing data and biosamples through a modified protocol.
The primary aim of PPMI is to identify and validate biological markers of Parkinsonís disease for diagnosis, tracking and intervention testing. In parallel, though, this rich dataset can provide a platform for discovery and replication of varied research findings. PPMI has made de-identified data available in real-time since its launch, and the open-access set has been downloaded more than 620,000 times.
The study is supported by 17 industry partners, including GE Healthcare, which will provide one of the $25,000 prizes. (MJFF will provide the other.)
ďGE Healthcare is excited to participate in this open innovation project with The Michael J. Fox Foundation that will leverage the unique PPMI data set to develop innovative digital solutions in the management of Parkinsonís disease,Ē said Etienne Montagut, global product leader-Neurology and Cardiology, GE Healthcare's Life Sciences business. ďIím confident the project can ultimately improve diagnosis and prognosis in PD that will lead to better patient outcomes.Ē
Given the scope and breadth of the PPMI dataset, applicants may request to be matched with a Parkinsonís researcher for assistance in navigating the dataset and prioritizing relevance to disease diagnosis and progression.
Submissions are due Wednesday, September 7, 2016. Interested applicants are invited to attend a live webinar on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, for more information on the challenge and to ask questions. Visit https://www.michaeljfox.org/research/data-science.html to learn more.
PPMI is currently recruiting people with genetic mutations associated with Parkinsonís disease. Visit the study website to learn if you may be eligible to enroll.†