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PPMI Researchers Aim to Identify Biomarkers to Improve Future Research and Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

STOCKHOLM – Researchers with the Parkinson Progression Marker Initiative (PPMI) have found motor and non-motor deficits and a reduction in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and imaging biomarkers in Parkinson’s disease (PD) subjects, according to a study released today at the 18th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders. The PPMI aims to identify one or more biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease progression, which is a crucial step in research and development of new and improved treatments for Parkinson’s disease (PD).

This study assessed clinical imaging and CSF PD biomarkers in recently diagnosed PD, healthy volunteers (HV), and SWEDD (scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit) subjects. Baseline data from PPMI in these untreated cohorts demonstrate motor and non-motor deficits and reduction in CSF and imagine biomarkers in PD versus healthy volunteers. A comprehensive longitudinal follow-up of the PPMI cohort is underway to characterize biomarker progression. Enrollment of prodromal PD subjects is underway and these cohorts will be compared to the existing PPMI subjects undergoing longitudinal follow-up. All study data is integrated into the PPMI study database and is available at

Philip Thompson, Professor of Neurology at the University of Adelaide and Royal Adelaide Hospital states, “There is a great need for studies to identify those at risk and then conduct clinical trials to examine the efficacy of treatments at presymptomatic stages. A number of biomarkers have been identified that may make possible a study of presymptomatic neurodegenerations, such as Parkinson's disease. To be effective and widely applicable such studies require considerable precision in identifying reliable predictors and biomarkers of the disease to recruit a cohort of homogenous patients in the presymptomatic stages.” Thompson adds, “To this end, this prospective study has recruited a large number of subjects in a ‘premotor stage’ with known risk factors for Parkinson's disease and embarked on a long term follow up study using various objective measures. The results of this study have the potential to change the way clinical trials in Parkinson's disease are undertaken in the future and the way in which patients with prodromal premotor of Parkinson's disease are managed.”

About the 18th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders:
Meeting attendees are gathered to learn the latest research findings and state-of-the-art treatment options in Movement Disorders, including Parkinson's disease. Over 4,000 physicians and medical professionals from more than 80 countries will be able to view over 1,600 scientific abstracts submitted by clinicians from around the world.

About the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society:
The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), an international society of over 4,500 clinicians, scientists, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. For more information about MDS, visit