Principal investigator of the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), Ken Marek, MD, presented the latest findings from the landmark biomarkers study — sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation — at the 18th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Stockholm, Sweden earlier this month.
Among findings from the baseline analysis is that participants with Parkinson’s show lower levels of the protein tau in spinal fluid than do control participants. This finding is particularly interesting because people with Alzheimer’s disease show elevated levels of tau.
“We can’t explain it at the moment. It is leading to much discussion, and additional research is needed to understand what we are seeing,” Dr. Marek told Medscape. “We are hoping to develop an array of biomarkers that will be of value to track the disease, and to identify subsets of patients that may respond to specific therapeutics.”
The PPMI findings were selected for a Blue Ribbon Award at the congress, the professional meeting of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. The meeting concludes with a Blue Ribbon Highlights session of the best research presented during the proceedings.