SHRI gains major Parkinson’s partner - Your West Valley News: Health

SHRI gains major Parkinson’s partner

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Posted: Saturday, September 25, 2010 4:00 am

The Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Banner Sun Health Research Institute are partnering in a breakthrough program geared toward searching for indicators of Parkinson’s disease.

This $40 million research undertaking, called the Parkinson’s Progressive Markers Initiative, is a five-year international project with multiple clinical sites and industry partners. The goal is to identify biomarkers that could lead to the disease.

Biomarkers, such as high cholesterol being an indicator of future heart disease, would help researchers and physicians to diagnose Parkinson’s earlier and could make clinical trials of drugs to cure or slow the progression of the neurodegenerative disease easier and more accurate.

Dr. Holly Shill, a neurologist and movement disorders specialist at Banner Sun Health, explained the research project Thursday evening at the Rio Vista Community Center in Peoria.

The project, which will use new dopamine imaging technology to track the disease, needs about 400 newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients and about 200 “normal” people for a control group to participate in the trial. In Arizona, they are looking for 20 or more enrollees for each group.

“These types of studies are critical,” Shill said. “The best thing to study is the people themselves.”

Shill cited an Alzheimer’s disease study conducted recently that is similar to what she hopes to do with the PPMI study. The Alzheimer’s study also looked for causes of the disease and is being used by pharmaceutical companies to research whether new drugs are effective.

Dr. Ken Marek, the president of The Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders in Connecticut, told the group Thursday that the study would help translate science into useful tools.

Marek, who also works closely with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, said that since Parkinson’s is a disorder of the brain, it can be difficult to test, but this effort could enable doctors to better track the disease.

“Right now, we make our best guess, but it’s just a guess,” Marek said.

Parkinson’s patients interested in enrolling should be in the early, or de novo, stages of the disease and not have started medication yet. Contact the Banner Sun Health Research Institute for information.


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1 comment:

  • liz1blizz posted at 5:49 pm on Thu, Oct 14, 2010.

    liz1blizz Posts: 1

    The researchers are working hard for many many years, and i just hope they are going to find a cure sooner, in the mean time my husband suffering from parkinson's for 6 years shows signs of getting closer to the last stage of the disease. I got to the point that i couldnt take care of him alone, so I did not know what to do. I researched some places specialized in carying for Parkinson's but i could not find a good one. 2 months ago finally I found an assisted living home, who's owner was a LPN with a lot of experience working with Parkinson's patients. I was also surprised when her price was actually half of the price nursing homes around Sun City and Peoria was asking. So far my husband has a great care, from caregivers with understanding of this disease, and I am very happy. I just hope my comment will help other families facing the same problem like I did with a tough decisison of what to do . I found the place very clean, almost elegant, and i visited every day so i can see what kind of care they offer and I was very satisfied. I found the place trough an agency named Arizona senior care advisor(623 977-8700) they did not charge me anything and they recommend the place to me and helped me with the moving process. It was a big help for me.


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