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NIH Launches Parkinson's Disease Research Partnership

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health has launched a new tranche of its Accelerating Medicines Partnership project, focused on validating biomarkers of Parkinson's disease.

Called AMP PD, the partnership will include contributions from GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Sanofi, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF), Celgene, and Verily. The partner organizations will invest a combined total of $12 million over five years through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, which will manage the project, including $2 million of in-kind contributions in software and services from Verily. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke will match the private sector funds with an additional $12 million, and the US Food and Drug Administration will provide regulatory guidance.

"Advancing treatments for Parkinson's disease is hampered by insufficient understanding of biological networks; drugs aimed at seemingly promising therapeutic targets fail in clinical trials," NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. "By combining our expertise and resources, AMP PD partners hope to increase our collective odds of success in accelerating the development of effective treatments for a million Americans who suffer from this debilitating disease."

NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz noted that the NIH and MJFF have already collected a large amount of data and biological samples from Parkinson's patients. "Sharing resources from public-private partnerships to generate and analyze 'big data' made available through AMP may be our greatest opportunity for accelerating the pace of discovery for translation into more effective treatments for PD," he added. 

Verily and the other partners will support the development of the AMP PD Knowledge Portal, which will enable the search for biomarkers by sharing deidentified data and findings among all the AMP PD partners and the entire research community, and analyzing combined datasets from more than 3,000 Parkinson's cases and 1,700 healthy controls from studies funded by NINDS and MJFF, including the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative. Results from these analyses will also provide researchers with the opportunity to conduct genome-wide analyses on a large scale.

"The AMP PD Knowledge Portal will provide data storage, pipelines, and visualization tools that could enable unique opportunities for data science solutions for human disease modeling and for the identification of the underlying biology related to PD pathogenesis," Margaret Sutherland, NINDS program director and co-chair of the AMP PD Steering Committee, said in the statement. 

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