New Biomarker Assay for Parkinson’s Disease Granted EU Funds

New Biomarker Assay for Parkinson’s Disease Granted EU Funds

European Union researchers, as a part of the EU-funded BIOMARKERS FOR PD project, have developed a Parkinson’s Disease (PD) biochemical biomarker assay that could lead to early diagnosis of the disease, the development of effective treatments and the successful assessment of pathogenesis and overall physiology of the disease.

Aside from the extreme social and mental burden on patients and families, Parkinson’s Disease is estimated to cost nearly $25 billion per year in the United States alone, with costs related to the healthcare system, Social Security payments, and lost income from inability to work.

Similar social and economic costs affect Europe, which resulted in Parkinson’s Disease becoming a healthcare priority in the EU. The EU’s BIOMARKERS FOR PD project focuses on the development of a biomarker assay that can not only help clinicians identify the disease at an earlier stage but also put in practice more effective treatments, as only therapies that ameliorate symptoms are currently available.

The project also seeks to provide clinical validation of existing and potential biomarker assays, as high sensitivity, specificity, and utility are vital for the development of new and valid diagnostic tools.

“We are grateful for the support from EU,” Gunilla Osswald, CEO of project coordinator BioArctic Neuroscience AB, said in a press release.  “The development of a sensitive and specific biomarker that also could mirror the treatment effect would make an enormous advantage in the development of new disease modifying therapeutics.”

BioArctic Neuroscience AB, a Swedish biopharmaceutical company, is developing a disease modifying treatment for PD patients that aims to improve quality of life. The project has received a grant from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under a grant agreement to develop biomarker assays for Parkinson’s Disease.

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Margarida graduated with a BS in Health Sciences from the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Biotechnology from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST-UL). She worked as a molecular biologist research associate at a Cambridge UK-based biotech company that discovers and develops therapeutic, fully human monoclonal antibodies.

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