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Funded Studies

Discovery and Verification of Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers

Study Rationale:
The identification, development and use of Parkinson's disease (PD) biomarkers -- objective measures of disease -- remains a priority for researchers searching for a cure. Using a technology called mass spectrometry, we will develop an experimental setup to accurately describe approximately 170 candidate protein biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord. In this study, we will analyze CSF of people with Parkinson's disease and of healthy people. We will aim to identify one or more proteins that will help diagnose the disease and track its progression.

We hypothesize that a small share of the proteins associated with neurodegeneration in general and with Parkinson's in particular will be useful in tracking disease progression and eventually therapeutic efficacy of PD drugs.

Study Design:
Many proteins have been proposed as possible markers of Parkinson's and related disorders. In this study, we will test 170 such proteins to find one or more that can help diagnose the disease and track its progression. We will use an advanced mass spectrometry setup that can accurately detect and measure each of these proteins in CSF. Proteins will be tested for their ability to reliably indicate PD. If successful, those that pass this first test will be tested using another set of samples in a future study.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
Parkinson's-associated biomarker protein(s) could eventually serve as an early diagnostic, means of measuring disease progression and/or measures of drug efficacy in clinical trials.

Next Steps for Development:
One or more proteins that can distinguish people with Parkinson's disease from other study participants will be further tested for sensitivity and specificity and eventually confirmed using additional biosamples, including those from people with other neurodegenerative diseases.


  • Daniel Chelsky, PhD

    Montréal PQ Canada

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