Parkinson’s Disease Research: Biomarkers May Improve Frequency of Early Diagnosis – Part 1

Parkinson’s disease biomarkers
By Tomislav Babic MD, PhD,

In many neurodegenerative diseases, the search for biomarkers has been driven by an extensive investigation and characterisation of the disease itself, as well as diseased tissue. Due to the examination of post-mortem brain tissue in Parkinson’s disease (PD) research, relevant molecular pathways and genes that have allowed for targeted therapies, development of animal models, and new drug delivery systems have been identified.

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Parkinson’s Disease Clinical Research: The Role of Vagotomy in Prevention of PD

By Tomislav Babic MD, PhD,

Early involvement of the gastrointestinal tract in development of Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been indicated by the presence of constipation in the premotor (prodromal) stage of PD. In fact, this is one of the earliest non-motor signs of PD, associated with occurrence of a-synuclein aggregation in gastrointestinal nerve endings forming Levy bodies in the gut several years before classical motor clinical presentation of Parkinson’s disease. Several recent studies of the gastrointestinal tract shed new light the prevention of PD and open avenues for larger neuroscience Parkinson’s disease research projects.

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Parkinson’s Disease Research: For First Time in Years, FDA approves New Drug as Add-on Therapy for Parkinson’s

Parkinson's, Xadago
By By Tomislav Babic, MD, PhD, Vice President, Neuroscience Franchise, Worldwide Clinical Trials,

The FDA approved Newron Pharmaceuticals, Zambon and US WorldMeds’ Xadago (safinamide) as an add-on therapy to levodopa/carbidopa for patients with Parkinson’s disease, the companies announced Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The new drug received European marketing authorization in February 2015 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The approval covers the indication “safinamide as add-on therapy to levodopa alone or in combination with other Parkinson’s disease treatments” in mid-to late stage Parkinson’s disease patients.

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Parkinson’s Clinical Trials: MDS-PD Criteria Implications

UK Parkinson's Society Brain Bank criteria
By Tomislav Babic, MD, PhD, Vice President Neuroscience Franchise, Worldwide Clinical Trials,

Second only to Alzheimer’s disease, Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease (IPD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. Despite its prevalence, approximately 5 to 10% of patients with IPD are misdiagnosed, and conversely, up to 20% of patients diagnosed with IPD reveal alternative diagnoses upon autopsy, such as multiple system atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, Ad type pathology, and cerebrovascular disease. Improving Accuracy with MDS-PD It has been suggested that an accuracy of 90% is the best that can be achieved with clinical assessment and existing Parkinson’s disease diagnostic criteria, such as the UK PD Society Brain Bank criteria. In an effort to improve on this and increase diagnostic specificity, the Movement Disorders Society (MDS) recently published Clinical Diagnostic Criteria for Parkinson’s disease (MDS-PD), which reflects more recent understanding of IPD. Increasing Recognition to Non-Motor Manifestations Designed specifically for use in clinical research, but also as a general guide to clinical diagnosis of IPD consequent to Lewy body pathology1, the updated Parkinson’s disease diagnostic criteria gives increasing recognition to non-motor manifestations (motor abnormalities remain central). As with previous diagnostic criteria, the MDS-PD criteria utilize a two-step process for diagnoses. First, parkinsonism, defined as bradykinesia in combination with either rest tremor, rigidity or both, is required. However, this definition of parkinsonism fails to take into consideration a loss of postural reflexes,...

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