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PPMI Expands to Investigate Genetic Causes of Parkinson’s

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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PPMI will now also seek to study individuals with genetic mutations associated with Parkinson’s disease.

The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s landmark biomarkers clinical study, has expanded again; this time to learn more about the genetics of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In addition to groups currently enrolled in the study, PPMI will now also seek to study individuals with genetic mutations associated with Parkinson’s disease. In particular, PPMI seeks to understand the connection between PD onset and having a mutation in the LRRK2 gene – the single most common genetic contributor to Parkinson’s known to date.

Play a Part in PPMI:

Genetic traits are passed down through generations of families, and some ethnic groups have a higher presence of LRRK2 mutations in the gene pool than others. Because of this, PPMI is seeking individuals who meet either of the following criteria:

  • People with PD who are of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish, North African Berber, or Basque ancestry
  • People without PD who are related to someone with PD AND who are of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish, North African Berber, or Basque ancestry

Individuals who meet either of these criteria may be eligible to receive genetic counseling and testing at no cost to determine if they may qualify to participate in PPMI.

Studies of the genetics of Parkinson’s disease have revolutionized the pursuit of a “disease-modifying” treatment—a therapy that can slow or stop the progression of PD. Studying the genetics of Parkinson’s disease can speed progress toward treatments that would benefit everyone with the disease, even those with a non-genetic form of PD. PPMI needs volunteers to participate in this critical research.

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