Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a progressive disease that causes tremors, stiffness, and difficulty with movement, balance, and coordination. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, early detection and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for patients.
Michael J Fox Foundation Has Made A Major Breakthrough in the Fight Against Parkinson’s Disease
The Michael J Fox Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease. The foundation was founded by Michael J Fox, an actor who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991. Since its inception, the foundation has funded research to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improve the lives of those living with the disease. (1)
Recently, The Michael J Fox Foundation made a significant disclosure with the revelation of a novel paper that confirmed the presence of a highly accurate biomarker for Parkinson’s disease. The paper, published in the journal “The Lancet Neurology” describes a study that identified a biomarker that can detect Parkinson’s with high accuracy.
A Particular Protein
The biomarker is a protein called alpha-synuclein, which is found in the brain and is known to be involved in the development of Parkinson’s disease. The study found that levels of alpha-synuclein in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were significantly higher in patients with Parkinson’s disease compared to healthy controls.
The tool, called the α-synuclein seeding amplification assay (αSyn-SAA), can detect pathology in spinal fluid not only of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It can also do this in individuals who have not yet been diagnosed or shown clinical symptoms of the disease but are at a high risk of developing it. Found in the nervous system, alpha-synuclein can start to misfold and clump, damaging neurons and causing Parkinson’s disease to develop. It has previously been possible to confirm the presence of these clumps only through postmortem analysis.
The study involved 1123 participants who were enrolled between July 7, 2010, and July 4, 2019. Of these, 545 had Parkinson’s disease, 163 were healthy controls, 54 were participants with scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit, 51 were prodromal participants, and 310 were non-manifesting carriers. The researchers found that the levels of alpha-synuclein in the CSF were able to differentiate between patients with Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls with an accuracy of 93%.
A Big Breakthrough
This is a significant breakthrough in the field of Parkinson’s disease research, as there is currently no definitive diagnostic test for Parkinson’d. Diagnosis is typically based on clinical symptoms, which can be difficult to distinguish from other neurodegenerative disorders. The discovery of this highly accurate biomarker for Parkinson’s disease could lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis, which could improve patient outcomes and pave the way for the development of new treatments. Early detection and treatment are critical, as they can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease and improve quality of life.
“We could then study what happens at different biological stages of the disease,” says Dr. Sherer. Says Ken Marek, MD, PPMI principal investigator, “αSyn-SAA enables us to move to another level in effecting new strategies for prevention of disease.” (2)
The Michael J Fox Foundation
The Michael J Fox Foundation has been at the forefront of Parkinson’s disease research for many years. The foundation has funded numerous studies to identify biomarkers for Parkinson’s and has invested in the development of new treatments. The discovery of this highly accurate biomarker is a testament to the foundation’s commitment to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
A Future For Those With Parkinson’s Disease
The revelation of a highly accurate biomarker for Parkinson’s disease is a significant breakthrough in the field of Parkinson’s research. The discovery of this biomarker could lead to earlier and more accurate diagnoses, which could improve patient outcomes and pave the way for the development of new treatments. The Michael J Fox Foundation’s commitment to finding a cure for Parkinson’s has been instrumental in this breakthrough, and the foundation will undoubtedly continue to fund research to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease
About the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is the world’s largest private funder of Parkinson’s disease research. The foundation was founded in 1993 by actor Michael J. Fox to raise public awareness about Parkinson’s and to accelerate the search for a cure by funding state-of-the-art research worldwide. Today, the foundation continues to draw worldwide attention to this incurable disorder through its leadership role in raising public awareness, expanding support networks and accelerating progress toward a cure. For more information, please visit michaeljfox.org or follow their Twitter @MJFFoundation and their Facebook.
For more detailed information on this discovery, you can check out a webinar put together by the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
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- “Assessment of heterogeneity among participants in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative cohort using α-synuclein seed amplification: a cross-sectional study.” The Lancet. Prof Andrew Siderowf, MD, et al. May 2023.
- “Breaking News: Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Found.” Michael J Fox. April 13, 2023