Navigation Links
First early-detection blood test for Parkinson's shows promise

NEW YORK (March 11, 2008) -- A test that profiles molecular biomarkers in blood could become the first accurate diagnostic test for Parkinson's disease, new research shows.

The screen relies on changes in dozens of small molecules in serum. These "metabolomic" alterations form a unique pattern in people with Parkinson's disease, according to a team led by researchers at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

They published the findings in the journal Brain.

"A reliable blood test for Parkinson's disease would revolutionize not only the care of people with this debilitating illness, it would facilitate research as well," notes study senior author Dr. M. Flint Beal, chairman and Anne Parrish Titzell Professor of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College, and neurologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, an estimated 1.5 million Americans have the neurodegenerative disease, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Actor Michael J. Fox, boxer Muhammad Ali, and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno all suffer from Parkinson's, which strikes men and women in roughly equal numbers.

"Right now, a Parkinson's diagnosis is made solely on a clinical review of symptoms -- we have no biologic test," notes Dr. Beal. At best, a symptom-based screen is still only 90 percent accurate, he adds.

"That can cause real problems, because that remaining 10 percent of patients -- who may have look-alike conditions such as multi-system atrophy or progressive supranuclear palsy -- end up getting treated with Parkinson's drugs," Dr. Beal says. "These medicines may appear to help them a little while, but in the meantime, they haven't been getting the treatment that's necessarily best for them."

An early-detection test would also be enormously useful in tracking the health of patients who may be at higher risk for Parkinson's, such as those with a family history of the disease.

Finally, the integrity of clinical trials is undermined by the lack of an accurate screen, Dr. Beal notes. "Every time you do a clinical trial into Parkinson's and you have patients that are misdiagnosed, it enters 'noise' into the analysis, skewing the results. A truly reliable test could help eliminate that," the researcher notes.

That's why encouraging results for the new test -- based on a patient's "metabolomic profile" -- are so important.

Metabolomics is the study of changes in thousands of distinct, very small molecules found in body fluids or tissues. "Anytime you have a genetic or environmental perturbation, these molecules are altered in specific ways," Dr. Beal explains.

Because Parkinson's treatment could itself trigger some of these alterations, the researchers first compared metabolomic patterns in the blood of Parkinson's patients who were not undergoing treatment versus those who were medicated. "That gave us a 'medication-free' profile that we could use going forward," Dr. Beal explains.

In the next stage of the research, the team compared blood samples from 66 patients with Parkinson's disease against 25 healthy controls (most of whom were the patients' spouses). The metabolomic analysis included over 2,000 small molecules found in the blood.

"We discovered a clear differentiation between the metabolomic profiles of the Parkinson's disease patients versus those of the controls," Dr. Beal says. "No one molecule was definitive, but a pattern of about 160 compounds emerged that was highly specific to Parkinson's patients."

The significance of many individual compounds to the disease remains unknown and will be the focus of future study. But changes in a few well-known metabolites linked to oxidative stress were clearly linked to Parkinson's. These included low levels of the antioxidant uric acid; an increase in blood levels of another antioxidant, glutathione; and increased levels of a marker for oxidative damage called 8-OHdG.

"Together, these and other compounds were arranged into a metabolomic pattern that identified Parkinson's disease with great accuracy," Dr. Beal says.

He stressed that more work needs to be done to validate the finding, and a test that might be used routinely by doctors is still a few years away.

"We are currently enlarging the sample size and studying people at serial intervals, to see if this test might also serve as a benchmark for disease progression," Dr. Beal says. "We are also looking at people who carry a gene for a familial form of Parkinson's, but who do not have the illness now. We hope to track them over time to see if this metabolomic profile is predictive of disease onset."

If those data prove as promising as this early trial, an early-detection blood test for Parkinson's disease could someday become a reality. According to Dr. Beal, "That would be a big step forward for both the treatment and the study of this devastating illness."


Contact: Kathleen Robinson
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College

Related medicine news :

1. First biomarker discovered that predicts prostate cancer outcome
2. FDA Approves First Anti-Psychotic for Kids
3. Single-incision belly-button surgery to remove kidney performed first at UT Southwestern
4. First study examines newly-licensed RN work attitudes and intentions
5. Glades General Hospital First in Palm Beach County to Provide On-Site Electronic Birth Registration
6. UHW Announces: Antelope Valley Hospital Caregivers and Board Vote to Ratify First Union Contract With SEIU UHW-West
7. Father and Daughter From Tanzania Receive Their First Medical Examination in Newport Beach
8. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
9. APA Comments on FDAs First Approval of Medication to Treat Pediatric Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
10. TriWest Creates First-of-its-Kind Partnership to Offer Military Leaders With Grief Support Program
11. Watson Receives First FDA Approval for Manufacturing Product at Its Goa, India Facility
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over ... More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of ... WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... DE (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... member of the well-respected Microsoft Dynamics SL User Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s ... an independent group of Microsoft Dynamics SL software users, partners, industry experts and ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... failing. Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the needs of ... protection solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. However, there's ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... CBD College is proud to announce that on November 20th, ... its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this very short ... universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is officially the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Dr. Thomas Dunlap and Dr. Patrick Coleman , cardiologist ... Medicine at St., Joseph Health System’s Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital , co-hosted the ... ways and require time-critical intervention to avoid large area heart damage and progressive infections ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ... Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> --> This ... the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced the ... the United States (U.S.) Food and ... to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this submission ... FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using the ... M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  ARKRAY USA ... to provide evidence demonstrating the accuracy of its blood ... on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in ... the Company,s GLUCOCARD ® 01 meter and the ... requirements. The ability to accurately measure glucose levels in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: