Parkinson’s disease affects more than 4 million people worldwide, with numbers projected to double in the next few decades. With no known cure, there is a race for treatments to slow or stop the progression of the disease. Key to the research and discovery of treatments for Parkinson’s is the identification of biomarkers—a measurable biological indicator, such as proteins found in blood, which can help diagnose disease.
A slate of guidelines to shape the future of Parkinson’s biomarker research have been published this month in Science Translational Medicine. While previous recommendations have been created to support the research of Parkinson’s biomarkers, this is the first developed in collaboration with institutions outside of academic medicine.
Biomarkers can not only help predict, diagnose, or monitor disease, but they can also be used to see how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition. Lead author Alice Chen-Plotkin, the Parker Family Associate Professor of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine, led the project in partnership with experts from 36 organizations.
“These players at times have acted in separate worlds, but with a disease affecting so many and lacking in disease-modifying therapies, we’re coming together for essential collaboration and innovation,” says Chen-Plotkin. “Biomarkers to bolster our efforts to develop new therapies are urgently needed. These guidelines can help make the discovery of biomarkers for Parkinson’s a reality.”
Read more at Penn Medicine News.