Five New Parkinson's Genes

Release date: 2/4/2011

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NPF Statements on “5 New Parkinson’s Genes”

Peter Schmidt, PhD
VP, Programs, CIO

“Recent findings indicating additional genes associated with Parkinson’s offer a powerful new tool for understanding the causes of the disease. Genes can interact with environment to result in different effects: with caffeine and nicotine, for example, people with a certain genetic profile get a benefit, whereas in the case of these five genes, the environmental interaction is negative and seems to result in PD. With effects like these, it is increasingly important to consider large populations of individuals because only a portion of them will have any particular genes. Some therapies provide relief only for people with one specific gene, and it is important to study a large enough population to identify that there are some people who respond to a therapy and then be able to study those people to figure out why. NPF’s QII program is targeting enrolling the largest number of people with Parkinson’s disease ever studied—currently over 3,000 and counting—and tracking the course of their disease and the therapies they receive. Because of the size of the study, when even small groups of patients respond differently, we can target research to think about why. The answers could benefit us all.”

 

Michael S. Okun, MD
National Medical Director

"This study provides a critical piece of information that will help us to unlock the mysteries surrounding the causes of Parkinson's disease. Utilizing over 5000 samples from five international scientific groups, researchers were able to conclude that genetics played a much bigger role than previously thought; both in the causes of Parkinson's disease, and also in the number of affected people."
 

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