NEW YORK, NY — The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, together with personal genetics company 23andMe of Mountain View, California, and The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center of Sunnyvale, California, announced a call for 10,000 people with Parkinson’s disease to join an ambitious new research community. The goal of the community is to empower individuals with PD to proactively impact research in real time, potentially helping to speed early-stage scientific discoveries toward practical therapeutic relevance in treating Parkinson’s disease.
The 23andMe Parkinson’s Disease Community, conceived and led by 23andMe, is a novel attempt to leverage DNA technology, the Internet, and patient participation to enhance scientific understanding of Parkinson’s disease and the field’s ability to develop breakthrough treatments.
“Exploring the potential of a Web-based approach to patient engagement for research purposes is well-aligned with our Foundation’s mission,” said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation.
For the past year, the Foundation has been funding a partnership between 23andMe and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center to develop Web-based tools and surveys to gather information from a community of PD patients in a scientifically meaningful way. That project is still in development. In the interest of ensuring that the surveys can be put to immediate use once they are ready, 23andMe and the Parkinson’s Institute are now formally beginning the work of building the community.
To accelerate this community’s growth, through March 22, 23andMe is sponsoring up to 10,000 people with Parkinson’s to join the community for $25 instead of the usual $399. To be eligible for this discounted rate, individuals must have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s by a physician, be willing to provide a saliva sample for genetic analysis, and agree to participate in online surveys about their experience with Parkinson’s. Participants’ data will be kept anonymous, but will contribute to a larger pool of data about the PD community that will inform various Parkinson’s research efforts over time.
In addition, members will have full access to 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.
More information on joining the community — including information on how people with Parkinson’s can obtain a discount code to participate in the limited-time reduced rate of $25 — is available at www.michaeljfox.org.