The Cleveland Clinic today announced that it is joining an ongoing effort from personal genetics company 23andMe to recruit 10,000 Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients to contribute their DNA to a research database, toward the end goal of better understanding the role genetics plays in PD. The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is collaborating with 23andMe to publicize this initiative to the PD community.
Patients who volunteer for the study will be asked to provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis and participate in online surveys about their experience with PD. These data will in turn be collected and presented it in a scientifically meaningful way to the research community at large. By leveraging DNA technology, the Internet, and patient participation, the initiative aims to accelerate findings to enhance an understanding of PD, a critical step in developing therapies to treat the disease.
All members of the PD community are entitled to free lifetime memberships to 23andMe, and they will continue to receive updated health reports indefinitely through the 23andMe Personal Genome Service™, which includes detailed, personalized reports across many health conditions and traits, including PD. They will also have the opportunity to share their experiences directly with others in the 23andMe community who have Parkinson’s or who carry genetic markers placing them at increased risk for developing the disease.
The Cleveland Clinic is also a study site in the Parkinson’s Progression Marker’s Initiative (PPMI), MJFF’s landmark Parkinson’s biomarkers clinical study. The discovery of a Parkinson's biomarker, or a measurable physical trait used to determine or indicate the effects or progress of a disease or condition, would be critical to developing treatments that can go beyond symptomatic relief to slow or stop the progression PD.