Promising Outcomes of Original Grant:
Recent reports of people with “super-smelling powers” have triggered the idea that there exists a specific scent in Parkinson’s patients’ sebum, an oily skin secretion, providing a novel basis for Parkinson's biomarker research. Our customizable MouSensor technology allows us to create highly sensitive biosensors for a specific odor by genetically increasing the sensor (receptor) activated by Parkinson's sebum within the nose of a mouse. As such, we can generate super-sniffer mice to advance the identification of early-stage Parkinson's biomarkers in sebum. In a pilot project funded by MJFF, we have identified 12 rat odor sensors activated by Parkinson's sebum. We have created candidate Parkinson's-MouSensor animals for six of them.
Objectives for Supplemental Investigation:
In this study, we will further validate the identified Parkinson's odor signatures by including more samples from patients as well as from healthy volunteers. In addition, we will use an in-house established ex vivo odor screening assay to verify if the identified odor sensors (produced in our MouSensor animals) are indeed activated by Parkinson's sebum.
Importance of This Research for the Development of a New PD Therapy:
By further fine-tuning the Parkinson's odor signature, we can produce specific Parkinson's-sensitive odor sensors using our MouSensor platform. By extracting the sensors out of the MouSensors, we can eventually create a bio-nose-on-a-chip for automated screening of Parkinson's sebum samples in a non-invasive and quantitative way to assess the success of therapeutic intervention in clinical trials and/or as early-stage diagnostics.