The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is an observational research study to identify biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease (PD) progression. A biomarker is a substance or characteristic in our bodies that is associated with the presence of disease, or that changes over time in a way that can be linked to the progression of disease. An observational study means that study participants will undergo numerous tests and assessments of bodily processes related to PD, but will not receive an experimental drug or treatment. This study will use a combination of imaging techniques, collection of blood, urine, and spinal fluid, and clinical tests.
The information gathered from these procedures is critical to the future development of new and better treatments for Parkinson’s disease. PPMI is the first clinical study to assemble a population of sufficient size to collect this information, draw meaningful scientific conclusions over time, and try to develop better ways to measure the progression of PD.
The study is currently running underway in 21 sites throughout the United States and Europe. It is expected to take about five years. The study team includes many clinicians and scientists who conduct research in Parkinson’s disease. It will be led by principal investigator Ken Marek, MD, President and Senior Scientist of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, New Haven, Connecticut. Expansion of the study to Australia will make this a truly global study.
What are biomarkers?
A biomarker can be any objectively measurable physical characteristic associated with the presence of disease (diagnostic marker), or any characteristic that changes over time in a way that can be tied to the progression of disease (progression marker). Examples from other health conditions include: Blood pressure, which is objectively and easily measured and, when high, acts as a diagnostic marker of potential heart disease; and, white blood cell count is a progression marker of leukaemia. A count that rises to abnormal levels indicates that the condition is getting worse, while a count that returns to normal indicates improvement.
Purpose of the Research
The goal of the PPMI study is to identify one or more biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease. The discovery of a biomarker of Parkinson’s disease is critical to the development of new and better treatments for PD, particularly treatments that could slow or stop the progression of the disease, something no currently available treatment can do.
Who Is Eligible to Enroll?
PPMI requires the participation of Parkinson’s patients who are newly diagnosed and are not currently taking standard PD medications and control patients – individuals who do not have PD and are not a first-degree relative of a PD patient. Participants must be at least 30 years of age.
Is Enrollment still open for this study
As the study has now commenced further enrollment for this study is now closed
READ ABOUT THE RESEARCH FINDINGS TO DATE FROM THE PPMI STUDY
First Paper Featuring PPMI Data Is Published
Podcast: PPMI Preliminary Research Begins to Provide Clues in Biomarker Search
Blood Pumping with Iron Could Prevent Parkinson’s Disease
VIDEO: PPMI Investigator Matt Stern Talks with ABC News about the Link between Smell and PD
Important PPMI Results Highlighted in USA Today
SHARE THIS INFOGRAPHIC: Smell and Your Brain
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO CAN TAKE PART IN PPMI?
PPMI seeks to enroll participants from two groups: controls who do not have PD and Parkinson’s or “possible PD” patients (these can be patients who are newly diagnosed and have taken medication for less than 60 days or, ideally, patients who have not yet started taking PD medication; patients with possible PD are also highly qualified for the study). Participants must be at least 30 years of age. Once enrolled, subjects will participate in the study through to 2015
A PATIENT I RECENTLY DIAGNOSED WITH PD HAS NOT YET BEGUN MEDICATION, BUT MAY NEED TO START SOON. CAN S/HE STILL PARTICIPATE IN PPMI?
Yes, and in fact, patients like these are the most appropriate subjects for the study. If possible, enrollees are asked to stay medication-free for the first six months of participation. For many newly diagnosed patients who take part in PPMI, it will become necessary to start PD medications at some point during the course of the study. Starting PD meds at any point after enrolling in PPMI does not compromise a patient’s eligibility to participate. Further, PPMI sites acknowledge that all treatment decisions are of primary importance and should be determined solely between the patient and his or her primary doctor.
DO PARTICIPANTS HAVE TO GO TO A PPMI SITE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STUDY?
Yes. Because the study has been designed with highly standardised protocols that must be strictly adhered to across study sites, enrolled subjects must visit the official PPMI site to conduct all study visits.
HOW LONG WILL THE STUDY LAST?
PPMI will be conducted over the course of about five years. For individual participants, the duration will range from three to five years depending on their particular study entry date.
WHO IS SPONSORING THIS RESEARCH?
PPMI is sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and funded in Australia by The Shake It Up Australia Foundation.