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Funded Studies

Single-molecule Detection of Oligomeric Synuclein in Body Fluids

Study Rationale:
Clumps, or aggregates, of the protein alpha-synuclein have been detected in spinal fluid of people with Parkinson’s disease, where its concentration shows potential to be a biomarker or indicator of Parkinson’s. We hope to dramatically improve on existing alpha-synuclein detection techniques (PMCA and RT-QuIC) by substantially decreasing testing time, increasing detection sensitivity, and determining if the test will work on more conveniently obtained biosamples (e.g., blood, urine). Our single-molecule counting methods may provide new information on the “fingerprint” of aggregates found in people with Parkinson’s disease.

We believe our recently created AttoBright device will count the number and the size of synuclein aggregates in biological fluids with greater sensitivity than current tests. And we will develop standard protocols to be used for routine detection of Parkinson’s from blood or urine samples.

Study Design:
We will validate our protocols to profile Parkinson’s biomarkers by using purified reference samples on two different instruments in two different institutes, before accessing samples from donors with Parkinson’s.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:
The in-depth aggregate profiling produced will provide preliminary evidence of being informative for either diagnosis and/or measuring disease status of people with Parkinson’s. The sensitivity afforded may additionally provide the potential for early diagnosis before a person develops motor symptoms.


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