Study Rationale: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is often diagnosed at a stage where the disease has progressed significantly, restricting treatment options and limiting the opportunity to understand how the disease starts and progresses. Development of a biomarker that can be used to facilitate early and accurate diagnosis, predict outcomes (including the development of memory problems) and accurately monitor disease progression would revolutionize the testing of new treatment protocols. In this project, we use proteomics — a method that allows the measurement of the complete set of proteins present in a biological sample — to identify biomarkers in people with PD.
Hypothesis: This study aims to identify a set of proteins that will allow researchers to select patients with a similar profile of disease progression. These proteins can be used alongside clinical measures to improve the way new drug treatments are tested, with the aim of slowing disease progression.
Study Design: This study focuses on Tracking Parkinson’s, a UK-wide cohort of people with PD for which detailed clinical and molecular information has been collected over ten years. For this project, we measured 7000 proteins in 1900 subjects at different times. With this data, we will identify changes in blood proteins in people with PD as the disorder progresses. Because proteins form part of the signaling system the body uses to communicate, analyzing the patterns of protein changes will deepen our understanding of the disease process and provide clues about how and where the pathology develops.
Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease: Finding reliable biomarkers would revolutionize the diagnosis and management of PD. It would accelerate research into the next generation of treatments, which could slow the progression of this disease.
Next Steps for Development: Discovering new proteins involved in disease progression would create a list of potential targets for new treatments. By taking our candidate proteins and searching drug compound databases, we hope to find new matches which could be tested and developed as novel PD treatments.