Projects We Support

The NINDS Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP) supports a variety of research projects and projects that contribute to providing clinical and biospecimen resources and innovative analytical tools for PD biomarker discovery.

Active Projects

Applying DNA methylation for differential diagnosis in Lewy Body Dementia (R03)

Paula Desplats
PI:
Paula Desplats
University of California San Diego

​​​​Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) are two forms of dementia in the elderly that share motor and cognitive symptoms.  This often leads to misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment. Our project will explore whether patterns of DNA methylation in blood- a mark that regulate how genes are expressed- may help in differentiating patients with PDD, DLB, and healthy individuals.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium (U01)

James Leverenz
PI:
James Leverenz
Cleveland Clinic

We will evaluate the ability of recently-developed research brain imaging methods to identify different types of symptoms or symptom progression in individual patients.

GBA Pathway markers for Lewy body dementias (U01)

Clemens Scherzer
PI:
Clemens Scherzer
Harvard University

This study is designed to translate clues from the GBA pathway into biomarkers for clinical drug trials for patients with Lewy bodies and memory loss. It will create a prototype tool kit of tests for innovative, genetics-inspired, biomarkers-guided phase II trials for this major cause of memory impairment.

Lewy Body Dementia Biomarkers (U01)

Kirk Frey
PI:
Kirk Frey
University of Michigan

We will evaluate the ability of recently-developed research brain imaging methods to identify different types of symptoms or symptom progression in individual patients.

Whole-methylome sequencing to identify unique epigenetic profiles in Lewy body dementias (R03)

Debby Tsuang, MD
PI:
Debby Tsuang, MD
University of Washington

​​​​Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a prevalent and debilitating neurodegenerative disorder with no cure currently available. Existing tools to distinguish LBD subtypes are imprecise and this imprecision poses challenges for timely diagnosis and for research. The goal of this study is to identify unique epigenetic signatures (patterns of gene activation) in LBD that will facilitate diagnosis and treatment.