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Funded Studies

Serum Biomarkers for Parkinson's Disease

The immune system appears to play an important role in the progression of Parkinson’s disease, and immunotherapy may offer an approach to slow or stop disease progression. The goal of the present study is to use a novel antibody-identification approach to determine whether a disease-specific set of antibodies exist in the blood of PD patients that can be used as a biomarker for the disease. 

Project Description
In a preliminary study we have identified 3 antibody biomarkers (i.e., peptoids) that are uniquely more abundant in the blood of PD patients compared to normal controls and patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In addition, we found another set of 3 antibody biomarkers that are elevated both in PD and AD subjects compared to controls. The current study will attempt to repeat this finding using blood samples from 50 PD patients, 50 normal control subjects, and from 50 AD patients to determine whether our preliminary findings are accurate.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:  
If we can confirm and extend our preliminary findings with a larger sample of patients, we can potentially provide a useful biomarker for the identification of PD. Once this goal is met, in the future we can determine: (a) which antibodies are captured by the peptoids; (b) whether the biomarkers are useful for monitoring disease progression; and (c) whether the peptoids can be used as small molecule PD therapeutic compounds, as described in recent studies in our lab.

Anticipated Outcome
It is predicted that (a) the new set of samples will show that the 3 PD-related peptoids capture antibodies that are up to 10-fold higher in the PD patient samples compared to AD patients and controls, (b) 3 of the antibody biomarkers will be similarly enhanced both in the PD and AD samples. There should be some overlap in the peptoids since both PD and AD involve a brain inflammatory response and neurodegeneration, and (c) there may be a correlation between the level of one or more of the peptoid biomarkers and patient demographic variables like disease duration.


  • Dwight German, PhD

    Dallas, TX United States

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