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Extracellular Vesicles from Urine as Non-invasive Biomarkers

Study Rationale:
Parkinson's therapeutic development has suffered because Parkinson's symptoms develop only after significant brain degeneration has occurred, leaving significant time between disease onset and intervention. We propose to use RNA (the gene's messenger) isolated from urine extracellular vesicles to monitor brain health and disease. Extracellular vesicles are fluid-filled sacs outside the cells. Urine samples are easy and inexpensive to obtain and can be collected over time to monitor for change.

Urine extracellular vesicles may be a source for a non-invasive diagnostic tool that could be used to detect Parkinson's early in the disease course.

Study Design:
We will examine urine samples from 25 control volunteers, 25 people with Parkinson's and 25 people with Alzheimer's disease collected twice a day during two different weeks (four samples per person). We will isolate extracellular vesicles, sequence RNA to identify differences that are consistent across all sample time points.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson's Disease:
A non-invasive marker of Parkinson's early in the disease course could allow for early diagnosis and intervention.

Next Steps for Development:
We would validate our findings in an additional cohort and move toward creation of a diagnostic test that would use urine.


  • Kendall Van Keuren-Jensen, PhD

    Phoenix, AZ United States

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