Last week, the Alzheimer Research Forum, an online scientific community dedicated to understanding Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), reported on the LRRK2 Cohort Consortium, an initiative funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research to assemble and study groups of people with and without PD who carry mutations in the LRRK2 gene. LRRK2 is the greatest genetic contributor to PD discovered to date, and is a priority target for the Foundation.
Comprising more than 3,000 people across 20 clinical sites worldwide, the Cohort Consortium is a critical element of MJFF's approach to speeding development of LRRK2-based treatments for PD. Diverse populations are being assembled and studied over time to help scientists gain a better understanding of the clinical features of LRRK2 Parkinson’s. By building a network of patients and their families, and compiling significant clinical data on LRRK2 parkinsonism over time, MJFF hopes to facilitate the design and execution of conclusive clinical trials once promising drug candidates are identified.
Genetic targets like LRRK2 allow researchers to study important mechanisms underlying disease onset and progression. By studying a genetically defined group of people, researchers can study individuals before they begin to experience the symptoms of PD, thus learning more about the disease process. By knowing more about the very first signs of PD, researchers may be able to design a drug for LRRK2 parkinsonism that will also help people who do not have the mutation.
Read the Alzheimer Research Forum article to learn more about the Consortium, and to find out about similar genetic initiatives in the AD field.