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Key Initiatives

PPMI Clinical Study

The landmark Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative study has built the most robust data and biospecimen library in Parkinson's research history. It is a cornerstone of our growing understanding of Parkinson's pathology and clinical experience and has heavily influenced emerging clinical trials.

The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study was launched in 2010 with a mission to identify biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease (PD) onset and progression — a critical next step in the development of new and better treatments for PD. A $100-million study, PPMI is sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation and funded by the Foundation in partnership with 26 biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

At PPMI's 33 clinical sites in 11 countries, 1,400 participants have contributed data and biosamples to the most robust Parkinson's database and specimen bank ever created. The study has applied deep molecular profiling techniques to generate data from whole genome and epigenome sequencing and transcriptomics, for example.

This comprehensive, standardized, longitudinal PD data and biological sample repository is paired with a simple online system that allows researchers to access study data and samples for complementary PD research in their own labs across the globe. PPMI data has been downloaded more than 2.8 million times, and the study has received more than 100 biospecimen requests.

Data/Biospecimen Collected at PPMI Visits (months from baseline)

Sample 0 3 6 9 12 18 24 30 36 42 48 54 60 72 84 96
Exam X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Blood X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
Urine X   X   X   X   X   X   X X X X
CSF X   X   X   X   X   X   X X X X
DaTscan/MRI X       X   X       X          

The impact of PPMI is felt in many areas of Parkinson's research:

  • Scientific Results: The PPMI study team and non-affiliated investigators have analyzed PPMI data and samples and made significant findings on, for example, brain imaging results in early Parkinson's disease; predictive models of rate of progression and specific symptom development; and genetic variants associated with PD. View list of PPMI publications.
  • Standardization and Collaboration: The biosample collection, storage and analysis methods pioneered by PPMI have been adopted by successive Parkinson's studies. These standards allow for analysis and comparison across studies, which is the basis of large-scale collaborations to advance understanding and treatment of Parkinson's. One such collaboration is the Accelerating Medicines Partnership Parkinson's disease (AMP PD) program, led by the National Institutes of Health. MJFF and PPMI are partners in AMP PD.
  • Trial Design: In addition to adopting PPMI biosample handling methods, companies testing new Parkinson's therapies are looking to PPMI for other protocol details. Many have modeled inclusion criteria for early de novo Parkinson's (such as positive DaTscan) after PPMI, and the study's successful recruitment and retention of volunteers — including genetic mutation carriers — for a long, intensive study have lent confidence to study sponsors.

Read more about PPMI and access data and samples on the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative website.

Michael J. Fox in blue sweater posing for the camera.

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