Boston University Medical Center Joins Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) As Official Study Site

— $40-million, five-year observational clinical study, sponsored by Michael J. Fox Foundation,
will seek biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease  —

Enrollment Contacts:
~ Raymond C. James, RN, BS
(617) 638-7745
rcjames@bu.edu 
~ Cathi A. Thomas, RN, MS 
(617) 638-7737
neurocat@bu.edu

Boston, Massachusetts, October, 2010 —  Boston University Medical Center announced that it is one of 18 official study sites for the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a landmark observational clinical study sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which will use a combination of advanced imaging, biologics sampling and behavioral assessments to identify biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease progression. Enrollment of 20 patients and 10 controls at Boston University Medical Center is expected to begin in June/Summer and will continue for approximately two years.

“PPMI holds potential not only to accelerate the development of breakthrough Parkinson’s treatments for the future, but also to improve diagnosis and treatment of today’s generation of PD patients,” said Dr. Samuel Frank. “Boston University Medical Center has been at the forefront of Parkinson’s disease research for years in Boston, Massachusetts. It is deeply meaningful to have been selected as a PPMI site and to have our commitment to speeding Parkinson’s solutions recognized.”

Said Michael J. Fox: “This is an ambitious undertaking, no doubt. But nothing worth having comes easily. Everything we’ve learned up to now, the partnerships we’ve worked to forge, the results of research we’ve funded — it’s all put us in position to launch this effort. We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and, hopefully, get this done.”

Biomarkers: Mission-critical for Parkinson’s Drug Development

A biomarker could be any objectively measurable physical characteristic associated with the presence of disease (diagnostic or risk marker) or any characteristic that changes over time in a way that can be tied to the progression of disease (progression marker).

“There is no doubt that finding a biomarker is critical to the development of next-generation therapies, and that the lack of this tool is among the most critical issues facing the PD research field,” said Katie Hood, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “MJFF has funded biomarker discovery efforts for years. Now we are poised for a concerted, unified effort that will take these discoveries to the next level.”
The lack of a PD biomarker impedes PD diagnosis and treatment, and also critically stalls the development of improved therapies, particularly therapies to slow or stop the progression of PD, something no currently available treatment can do. Clinical trials of new, potentially disease-modifying Parkinson’s treatments are at risk of yielding inconclusive results, because there is no way to measure the effects of those treatments objectively.

About The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)
PPMI, a groundbreaking study to find biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease, will be carried out over five years at 19 clinical sites in the United States and Europe. The study will enroll 400 de novo Parkinson’s patients (patients who are newly diagnosed and have not yet taken PD medication) and 200 healthy age-matched controls. Participants will undergo tests including motor, neuropsychiatric and cognitive examinations; brain imaging with DatSCAN and MRI; and blood, CSF, urine and DNA sampling. For information on enrolling in PPMI, please contact site coordinator Ray James, RN, BS at (617) 638-7745.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation
The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to ensuring the development of better treatments, and ultimately a cure, for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda. MJFF has funded over $175 million in research to date. 

About Boston University Medical Center
Boston University Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, academic medical center located in Boston’s historic South End. Boston Medical Center is the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. Boston Medical Center emphasizes community-based care, with its mission to provide consistently accessible health services to all. The largest safety net hospital in New England, Boston Medical Center provides a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services, from primary to family medicine to advanced specialty care. With the largest 24- hour Level I trauma center in New England.

For more information, please visit the link below:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation – PPMI

Directory|BUMC
December 15, 2011
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine