Parkinson’s Foundation, Partner to Speed New Treatments

Initiative will open up access to data to aid research efforts

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Parkinson’s Foundation and data analytics company are partnering to help advance Parkinson’s disease research, with the goal being better treatments and improved care.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Parkinson’s Foundation, a global leader in improving life for those living with Parkinson’s disease,” said Tom Covington,’s CEO, in a joint press release. “With this partnership, for the first time, researchers across organizations will be able to investigate harmonized, clinical and genomics data products using the most advanced data mesh framework, to help advance research into the causes and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.”

Genomics is the study of a person’s entire DNA makeup, including all of its genes and how they interact with each other and the environment.

A platform for researchers and physicians, data scientists, and leadership, combines data sets, smart application programming interfaces, and statistical and machine-learning algorithms to help discover insights using data mesh architecture. Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that uses algorithms to analyze data, learn from its analyses, and then make a prediction about something.

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The decentralized, self-service platform permits users to independently and securely perform cross-domain data analysis.

With the partnership, Parkinson’s investigators will be able to assess and share anonymized data that combines genomics and clinical datasets with millions of genetic variants plus thousands of clinical parameters. Ultimately, the platform will produce detailed insights on Parkinson’s progression and map clinically pertinent Parkinson’s-related genes.

“By providing the research community with tools and a library of data, we hope to make strides in advancing Parkinson’s research, spark discoveries in treatment and improve the overall care of people living with the disease,” said James Beck, PhD, the chief scientific officer of Parkinson’s Foundation.

To support the research community, the foundation will link several de-identified datasets from PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease. The organization’s national study (NCT04057794) seeks to make genetic testing and counseling more available to patients in the U.S.

By providing Parkinson’s patients free genetic testing and counseling for seven genes associated with the disease, the initiative aims to boost clinical trial enrollment and advance improved treatments and personalized medicine.

Earlier this year, the foundation announced a major expansion of the study’s sites, which is expected to help achieve its target enrollment of 15,000 patients in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Through September, 5,675 completed genetic tests were reported. Of those tested, 13.6% were found to have a genetic link to Parkinson’s.

Together, the foundation and will support PD GENEration’s objectives by accelerating and driving investigations toward developing better therapies and advancing medicine tailored to each patient.

The Parkinson’s Foundation works to advance Parkinson’s research and improve care for patients. The progressive neurodegenerative disorder is thought to affect 1 million U.S. residents and 10 million people globally.

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