As the NINDS Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) moves forward, NINDS will work to update the Parkinson's disease community on the progress of the individual PDBP projects and on presentations and workshops relevant to PDBP. To learn the latest developments in the NINDS PDBP please check this website often.

Parkinson's Disease Awareness

March 2017 – New Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) studies have officially begun!  Through funding provided by the National Alzhiemer's Project Act (NAPA) for Alzheimer's Disease Related Dementias (ADRD), these studies will enroll 590 participants with clinical longitudinal followup and biosample collection.  Learn more.

February 2017 – The NINDS Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) is fully enrolled with over 1500 participants! Enrollment is 100% complete for this Parkinson's disease biomarker effort.

Launched in January 2013, the NINDS Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) aims to accelerate the search for biomarkers through eleven research projects. Seven of the research sites also collect clinical samples using a standardized methodology for the collection of blood, DNA, and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). Read more about the PDBP in the NINDS PDBP blog by Story Landis.

PDBP Newsletter

The sixth edition of the PDBP Newsletter is available. PDBP Newsletter Vol. 4 Issue 1

PDBP Newsletter Vol. 4 Issue 1


Recent Publications:

  • Functional MRI of Disease Progression in Parkinson’s Disease and Atypical Parkinsonian Syndromes
    Roxana G. Burciu, Jae Woo Chung, Priyank Shukla, Edward Ofori, Hong Li, Nikolaus R. McFarland, Michael S. Okun, and David E. Vaillancourt

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    PDBP investigator, Dr. David Vaillancourt and researchers at the University of Florida have recently identified functional MRI (fMRI)-based methods to measure disease progression in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other Parkinsonian disorders.  In this study, 46 PD, 13 multiple system atrophy (MSA), 19 progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), and 34 healthy control subjects were scanned 1-year apart to collect brain images using fMRI of several brain structures including the basal ganglia, cerebellum, and motor cortex while the patient was performing a grip force task.  The group reported that PD patients had a reduced signal over time within a region of the brain known as the putamen as well as in the motor cortex when comparted to healthy controls.  Functional activity in the motor cortex and cerebellum was decreased in MSA subjects, whereas there was a decline in activity of all regions measured in PSP patients.  In other words, activity in some regions of the brain seemed to be a signature over time for Parkinson’s disease, others for PSP, and still others for MSA. This study suggests tasks-based fMRI may be a candidate biomarker in distinguishing rates of disease progression in Parkinsonian disorders.  This is very important because MSA, PSP, and PD all have different underlying biological causes and different prognoses, so being able to differentiate them using an imaging test would allow for individuals to be quickly and accurately enrolled into the right clinical trials as well as help clinicians better counsel and treat patients. Neurology. 2016 (in press).

    DOI: http:/ / dx. doi. org/ 10. 1212/ WNL. 0000000000002985

  • CNS tau efflux via exosomes is likely increased in Parkinson disease but not in Alzheimer disease
    Min Shi, Andrej Kovac, Ane Korff, Travis J. Cook, Carmen Ginghina, Kristin M. Bullock, Li Yang, Tessandra Stewart, Danfeng Zheng, Patrick Aro, Anzari Atik, Kathleen F. Kerr, Cyrus P. Zabetian, Elaine R. Peskind, Shu-Ching Hu, Joseph F. Quinn, Douglas R. Galasko, Thomas J. Montine, William A. Banks, Jing Zhang

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    Both Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) involve a protein called tau. The tau protein is important for transportation of other proteins in the brain. In neurodegenerative disease like AD and PD, the tau proteins form large clumps or tangles, destroying this transportation function. While tau can be detected in blood, we do not understand how it is removed from the brain. Therefore, PDBP investigator Dr. Jing Zhang designed an experiment to study the movement of tau from the brain in mice and compare these findings to blood samples collected as part of PDBP in his laboratory at the University of Washington. This experiment utilized samples from 91 PD, 106 AD, and 106 healthy control subjects. The experiment showed that tau was moved from the brain to the blood using small vesicles (sacs or bladders secreted by cells) called L1CAM exosomes. The amount of tau in these L1CAM exosomes was much higher in PD subjects than healthy controls or AD subjects. Thus, movement of the tau protein from the brain to the blood occurs readily. In PD subjects this movement likely involves the L1CAM exosomes while a different mechanism may be involved in AD subjects. Future studies to better understand the movement of tau with L1CAM exosomes could aid in the development of interventions to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like PD and AD or even traumatic brain injury. Alzheimer’s & Dementia. November 2016.
  • Blood biomarker for Parkinson disease: peptoids
    Umar Yazdani, Sayed Zaman, Linda S. Hynan, L. Steven Brown, Richard B. Dewey Jr., David Karp, and Dwight C. German

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    A new study conducted by PDBP investigator, Dr. Dwight German and associates from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas), report a possible novel blood-based biomarker for Parkinson’s disease (PD).  This research used screening approaches called peptoid (a type of synthetic molecule) library screening. From the serum of 75 PD patients already on medication, 25 PD patients not yet on treatment, and 104 health control subjects (no PD), Dr. German and colleagues identified the peptoid PD2, as binding higher with a specific type of antibody, IgG3, in PD patients versus healthy controls.  Furthermore, as the level of PD2 increased, so did disease severity as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score.  Additional studies are in progress to validate this candidate biomarker, meaning to further assess the biomarker and how well it helps with predicting the correct diagnosis or prognosis. A blood-based biomarker that helped monitor progression would be a huge advance in the field, as it would allow a blood test to be developed to be used in clinical trials and possibly in the clinic. NPJ Parkinson’s Disease. November 2016.

    DOI: 10.1038/npjparkd.2016.12

  • The Key Determinants to Quality of Life in Parkinson’s Disease Patients: Results from the Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Program (PDBP)
    Lu He, Eun-Young Lee, Nicholas W. Sterling, Lan Kong, Mechelle M. Lewis, Gwangwei Du, Paul J. Eslinger, and Xuemei Huang

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    Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) is used to measure how well patients are able to participate in daily activities and their overall psychological well-being.  A recent study reported by Dr. Xuemei Huang and colleagues at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center assessed how motor and non-motor measures contributes to HRQOL in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients.  The researchers examined comprehensive clinical data from 645 PD patients in PDBP, including measures of non-motor symptoms (sleepiness, cognition, depression, HRQOL, and olfaction) and motor symptoms [as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)].  Study results showed that motor function rated by PD patients themselves was strongly associated with (predictive of) worse quality of life.  Interestingly, motor function assessed by trained evaluators (physicians and clinical coordinators) was not as strongly associated with quality of life, meaning a patient’s report of their motor symptoms was more likely to predict their quality of life score than the rating of their motor symptoms by their physician in this cohort.  Moreover, non-motor measures such as cognition, depression, and daily living was associated with quality of life.  This is the first comprehensive study of the PDBP cohort to evaluate how various clinical measures impact quality of life in PD patients. Additional follow-up analyses are needed to determine how quality of life is associated with disease progression.  These results will help inform clinicians and researchers in not only addressing the physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease but also the social, emotional and psychological aspects to improve patient care. J. Parkinson’s Disease. August 2016.

    DOI: 10.3233/JPD-160851


Press releases, workshop summaries, and editorials:

  • NINDS Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program Consortium Meeting, Bethesda MD (August 8-9, 2016)
    On August 8-9, 2016, representatives from NIH,  Principal Investigators (PIs), advocacy groups, industry, as well as clinical and data management experts from each project sponsored under the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Parkinson’s Disease (PD) Biomarkers Program (PDBP) met to discuss progress over the last twelve months in addition to current and future plans for the program. 

     Executive Summary (pdf)

  • NINDS Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program Meeting, Bethesda MD (September 22 , 2014)
    On September 22, 2014, representatives from non-government organizations, NINDS staff and Principal Investigators (PIs), and clinical and data management experts from each project sponsored under the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) Parkinson’s Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) gathered to discuss progress over the last twelve months and future plans for the consortium.

    Agenda (pdf) Executive Summary (pdf) Participant List (pdf)


Upcoming Events:

  • 5th PDBP Investigator Meeting, August 2017
Archived Press Releases, Workshop Summaries, Journal Articles and Editorials