A new blood test developed by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in the US shows promise for early diagnosis of the disease, although there are currently no fully validated blood signatures or biomarkers for Parkinson's disease (PD).
Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder and mutations in a gene are known to increase the likelihood of developing Parkinson's Disease (PD).
Comparing the tests conducted in mice and humans, the researchers identified ribonucleic acids or RNA signatures that can be measured in blood samples that correlate with mutations in the gene LRRK2.
"This is the first time we have studied animal models and clinical samples, and used them to look at RNA expression patterns of biomarkers in PD," said Dr. Stuart Sealfon, lead author of the study from Mount Sinai Health System in New York. "The goal of this research is to improve early disease detection, especially in people who are carrying a predisposing genetic mutation," Sealfon noted. "If you can improve your ability to diagnose the disease more specifically and identify new subtypes, this can help overcome the hurdle in developing new treatments for Parkinson's and other brain diseases," he pointed out.
The researchers analyzed the blood of four groups of mice with genetic material (e.g. ribonucleic acids or RNA) predicted by researchers to form part of a PD signature. Researchers also examined the blood of a group of Ashkenazi Jewish patients living with PD, as well as a separate group of healthy controls.
The study was published in Movement Disorders