The research team’s findings appear online in PLoS ONE.
“Parkinson’s disease is second most common neurodegenerative disease among older adults and there is widespread recognition that early detection would allow treatment that could slow its progression,” said Robert Nagele, PhD, a professor of medicine at UMDNJ-SOM and the founder of Durin Technologies, Inc. “A reliable blood test for Parkinson’s would have tremendous impact on patients, on physicians and on clinical trials of potential disease-modifying drugs.”
In an analysis that included more than 150 blood samples, Nagele and his team employed human protein microarrays to identify specific autoantibody biomarkers that may be able to diagnose Parkinson’s disease with a high level of accuracy.
Approximately 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. Today, physicians can only diagnose the disease through medical history, patient observation and laboratory tests that rule out other disorders. By the time a diagnosis is made using these methods, one-third of the neurons affected by Parkinson’s may already be lost.
“Using this diagnostic strategy, it may soon be possible and feasible to develop an accurate, inexpensive and relatively non-invasive test to detect and diagnose Parkinson’s disease,” Nagele said.
An investment in Durin Technologies, Inc., by the Foundation Venture Capital Group (FVCG), LLC, a New Jersey Health Foundation affiliate that invests in start-up companies founded by researchers at UMDNJ, provided initial funding for this research.
Media interested in interviewing the study’s authors should contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at 856-566-6171 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Durin Technologies, Inc., was founded in 2010 with the goal of developing new diagnostics and therapeutic agents for use in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Employing technologies exclusively licensed from UMDNJ, the company intends to commercialize products to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other related medical conditions.
UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine is dedicated to providing excellence in medical education, research and health care for New Jersey and the nation. Working in cooperation with Kennedy University Hospital, its principal affiliate, the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine places an emphasis on primary health care and community health services that reflect its osteopathic philosophy, with centers of excellence that demonstrate its commitment to developing clinically skillful, compassionate and culturally competent physicians from diverse backgrounds, who are prepared to become leaders in their communities.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey’s only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending the state’s three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey’s only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.