Really exciting findings in the field of #parkinsonsdisease research. This study published in Lancet identified a mis-folded version of the protein alpha-synuclein as a #biomarker for Parkinson’s diagnosis.
I hope this discovery will accelerate the development of better diagnostic assays for alpha-synuclein status, and thus, the risk of developing Parkinson’s. Currently, the standard test is a seed amplification assay where samples are collected via spinal tap, which is difficult to conduct at scale in the general population. With a more safely scalable test (blood test?) imagine the opportunity for early diagnosis, disease management, and, hopefully, therapeutic interventions!
Predictive biomarkers are very important healthcare data points. Their availability has the ability to shape the natural history of a disease and individual patient journeys. Kudos to the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research for the investment in this research. And looking forward to seeing more and more of this type of seminal finding, as the #healthcaredata, scientific and analytic tools, and clinical curiosity meet each other.
This finding can also significantly improve #clinicaltrials in this space — ensuring you’re enrolling patients with the correct diagnosis (inclusion criteria) is a persistent problem in neurodegenerative disease research. There are many diseases similar in symptoms to Parkinson’s (Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Multiple System Atrophy, etc.) and accidentally enrolling mis-diagnosed patients to a targeted trial could skew research findings. I wonder how many trials did not hit their endpoints due to this problem.