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Michael J. Fox Foundation Provides Funds to DiamiR for microRNA-based Parkinson's Dx

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Molecular diagnostics developer DiamiR said today it has received a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research for a study to validate the use of microRNA biomarkers for detecting Parkinson's early.

The Monmouth Junction, NJ-based firm did not disclose the value of the MJFF grant.

DiamiR, which has developed an early detection platform for neurodegenerative diseases that analyzes brain-enriched microRNA signatures in blood, said its research has shown that Parkinson's patients can be differentiated from controls and patients with other neurodegenerative diseases with up to 90 to 100 percent accuracy.

The company now aims to validate microRNA biomarker pairs for detecting Parkinson's in a large, well-characterized cohort of plasma samples from the BioFIND study, an observational clinical study targeting Parkinson's biomarkers being carried out across eight academic sites in the US.

The company will isolate the plasma of 50 Parkinson's patients and 50 matched controls, measure the levels of 18 microRNAs, and then evaluate how well those markers differentiate the Parkinson's samples from the controls. If these markers are successfully validated, DiamiR will assess how useful they are in assessing Parkinson's in the early, asymptomatic stage, and in other stages of disease development. The company then plans to move the most effective of the biomarker signatures into clinical testing.

"There is a great need for accurate, cost-effective, noninvasive diagnostics of Parkinson's disease," DiamiR CEO Kira Sheinerman said in a statement. "Early disease detection could lead to more efficient enrollment into clinical trials and enable effective treatment as well as better planning by patients and caregivers."