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Funded Studies

Developing a Reliable Clinical Test for pS129 Alpha-synuclein

Study Rationale:
Alpha-synuclein is a sticky protein that clumps in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease (PD). An abnormal form of the protein, called pS129 alpha-synuclein, can serve as an in indicator of disease progression. Measuring its amount in the cerebrospinal fluid, which bathes the brain and spinal cord, can help determine how advanced Parkinson's disease is in each case. We have developed a test for pS129 alpha-synuclein in the cerebrospinal fluid. In the present study, we will analyze cerebrospinal fluid samples donated by a large group of people with PD and by healthy people. We will also determine how the quality of tests varies between the lots.

We hypothesize that the test for pS129 alpha-synuclein will allow us to accurately and reliably measure the amount of this protein in cerebrospinal fluid samples. In this study, we aim to confirm the accuracy and reliability of the test.

Study Design:
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) will provide cerebrospinal fluid samples to our team and to two other research teams that partnered with us for the purposes of this project. We will make and distribute to the two partner teams three lots of the test for the evaluation in a blinded manner. The aim of this evaluation is to determine how reliable the tests are.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's disease:
If its evaluation is successful, this test will become one of the critical tools for measuring and monitoring pS129 alpha-synuclein in biosamples from people with PD. Major efforts to find treatments that can modify -- slow or stop -- the course of the disease are underway. Among these efforts, approaches that change the alpha-synuclein levels in the brain are emphasized. Thus, with validated tools like the test we are developing, we will be able to track the effectiveness of experimental therapies in treating Parkinson's.

Next Steps for Development:
Upon completion of this work, the test will be further developed as a commercially available product for the use in any laboratory or clinics where studies of Parkinson's disease are carried out.


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