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Cleveland Clinic Selected as Site for Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinson’s Disease Study

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Cleveland Clinic has been selected as a site for the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a landmark five-year research study that aims to identify biomarkers of the disease. The study is sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is an observational study — no experimental drugs will be measured or used in the trial. Participants will be contributing to a large body of data and biological specimens that can be used to further biomarker research. PPMI participants will not only contribute bio-samples but also undergo a wide range of clinical and behavioral assessments.

PPMI will be carried out over five years at 21 clinical sites in the United States and Europe; 400 Parkinson’s patients and 200 healthy control patients will participate in the study. Samples and data obtained from the study will be used to develop a comprehensive Parkinson’s database and biorepository, which will be available to the scientific community for research purposes.

Cleveland Clinic, as part of its site responsibilities, is planning to enroll 20 newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients who have not yet used any medications for their disease and 10 healthy controls, who cannot be first-degree blood relatives of the patients. The subjects will be enrolled for three to five years, depending on when they are recruited.

Hubert Fernandez, MD, Head of Movement Disorders in the Center for Neurological Restoration at Cleveland Clinic, and site Principal Investigator for the PPMI study, said:

Finding a biomarker would be a major game changer, because it could establish a critical endpoint for knowing the effectiveness of drugs. These are concrete ways to demonstrate that a treatment is, or is not, impacting the disease process in Parkinson’s patients, as opposed to simply impacting disease symptoms. We can’t keep testing drugs on large sets of patients over long periods of time and finding equivocal or negative results. It takes too long, it costs too much to conduct the research, and too many lives are involved. If we had a biomarker that correlates with disease progression, we would need fewer patients, less time, less funding and we’d be able to help more people faster, which is the most important part.

PPMI sites in the US include Birmingham, Alabama; Sun City, Arizona; San Diego, California; Sunnyvale, California; New Haven, Connecticut; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Massachusetts; Baltimore, Maryland; Rochester, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; and Seattle, Washington.

PPMI sites in Europe include Innsbruck, Austria; Kassel and Marburg, Germany; Tubingen, Germany; Naples, Italy; and London, United Kingdom.

Source: Cleveland Clinic