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NINDS to Fund Biomarker ID, Assay Optimization Studies for Parkinson's Disease

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke will support research projects to discover and use biomarkers for Parkinson's disease, NINDS said in a new funding announcement on Monday.

NINDS plans to provide between $200,000 and $490,000 for two-to-three-year studies to discover biomarkers, optimize biomarker-based assays, and develop these tools further through replication studies.

These projects will enhance and integrate with the Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program (PDBP), an initiative that launched in 2012 and now has enrolled more than 800 participants from six clinical sites. The PDBP currently has more than 200 cerebrospinal samples and more than 500 RNA, plasma, and serum samples available for analysis, and control data is accessible through the NINDS repository.

NINDS said it wants researchers to apply recent advances in high-throughput genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics in their efforts to develop new biomarker platforms because these improvements have made it possible to integrate disease information from diverse pathways into quantitative data that can be interpreted simply.

These NINDS grants will support initial screening for biomarkers, assay optimization studies to improve reproducibility, sensitivity, and selectivity, and efforts to replicate these findings in an independent cohort.

The screening studies may focus on global or omics approaches such as RNA-seq, metabolomics, lipidomics, and proteomics, or targeted detection assays for various protein species that are related to Parkinson's disease pathology. The assay optimization projects may aim to determine which biomarker candidates are most strongly associated with disease activity, and should include optimization and standardization parameters for those biomarker detection assays.

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