Scientists are on the hunt for a Parkinson’s biomarker, and one place they are looking is in a small gland under the jaw called the submandibular gland.
Charles Adler, MD, PhD, of the Mayo Clinic Arizona, spoke to Neurology Now about his research, funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, at the MJFF-sponsored 2013 PD Therapeutics Conference. Charles' team is measuring levels of alpha-synuclein — the protein that clumps in the cells of Parkinson’s patients — in the submandibular gland.
“These findings may be valuable to confirm Parkinson’s disease in advanced patients,” Charles tells Managing Editor Mike Smolinsky. “The major implications for a biopsy, though, would be for early diagnosis. The Michael J. Fox Foundation has funded us to do a new study to biopsy 25 people with diagnosed PD for less than five years.”
Charles joined us for a Webinar last week where he discussed his research with MJFF Associate Director Maurizio Facheris, MD, MSc, and Contributing Editor Dave Iverson. Watch the Webinar on demand to learn how alpha-synuclein in cells outside the brain might contribute to non-motor symptoms such as orthostatic hypotension and constipation.