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The Parkinson’s Minute: The Search for a Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker

The Parkinson’s Minute: The Search for a Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker

In this episode of the ongoing video series, Dave Iverson reports on the search for biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease (PD), and The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s major initiative driving this search — The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI).

Biomarkers are measurable physical traits used to determine the progress of a disease or condition, such as high blood pressure for potential cardiovascular disease. No validated biomarker of PD currently exists.  Finding such a marker could help in the diagnosis and tracking of the disease while also measuring how drugs act in the body, which could have important ramifications in developing new treatments for PD.

PPMI’s two year anniversary is closing in, and progress is being made: The scientific community at large now has access to the largest repository of PD data and biological samples collected to date. In June at the Movement Disorder Society’s Annual Congress in Dublin, Ireland, five different research teams presented study results, one of which was awarded Blue Ribbon status.

Iverson delves into some of the early findings from PPMI, while also speaking with MJFF co-founder Debi Brooks (who is participating in the study) about the importance of PPMI.

  • Learn more about PPMI is charting a new course in biomarker discovery
  • Check out MJFF co-founder Debi Brooks’ blog, and follow her participation in PPMI
  • If you’d like to participate in PPMI, volunteers are still needed.  To find out how, visit
  • And find out about how a protein called alpha-synuclein, being investigated as a potential biomarker for PD in PPMI, has become the focus of intensive efforts in the PD research community on the whole.

The Parkinson’s Minute is photographed and edited by Harry Gregory. Production facilities and assistance provided by Kikim Media.

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