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U of M named one of five clinical sites for crucial Parkinson’s disease research

Photo: EMSL via Flickr

The University of Minnesota announced earlier this month that it has been named as one of five clinical sites for BioFIND, a two-year study devoted to discovering biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease (PD).

The Minnesota Daily caught up with Paul Tuite, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurology and principle investigator of the study, to discuss the exciting endeavor.

“In the past 20 years, there haven’t been great breakthroughs in Parkinson’s research,” Tuite said, “partially because we don’t have any tests — like blood and spinal fluid — that tell us if a treatment is having an impact on the disease.”

Researchers will take samples from 120 subjects with moderate to severe Parkinson’s, as well as 120 subjects who don’t have the disease, said Reena Kartha, Ph.D., a College of Pharmacy research associate involved in the study.

BioFIND will also complement other researchers’ ongoing work.

James Cloyd, Pharm.D., another key player in the study, is currently studying how N-acetylcysteine, a commonly used antioxidant known as NAC, can be used to prevent brain cell damage in Parkinson’s patients.

New biomarkers could be used to track improvements in patients using NAC, Cloyd said.

BioFIND is sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and funded in part by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Check out the full story from the Minnesota Daily here.

Read the official BioFIND news release here.

  1. March 13, 2013 3:24 pm | Julia Sweet Says:

    With so little knowledge concerning Parkinsons and all its cousins, I can’t but wonder why no one showed any curiosity: I was diagnosed with parkinsonsism 10-15 years ago, then my 50 year old son was diagnosed PD about 4 years ago. Later my diagnosis was changed to PD and within 2 years of my son’s PD diagnosis his was changed to MSA. NONE of the hosts of doctors we each saw in different towns showed the slightest curiosity regarding a hereditary factor or an environmental,or any other link. We each informed the medical world of the other,but not one suggested research into the bizzare occurance.

  2. April 22, 2013 5:26 pm | Anna A. Says:

    I am so surprised to hear that. I live in So. California and one of the first things my neurologist had me do is to get tested to see if it was hereditary, turns out that for me I do not carry the hereditary gene. I received my Parkinson’s diagnosis two years ago at the age of 46. My first symptoms appeared 3 years earlier. You

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