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Choi D.W.,Korea Institute of Science and Technology | Armitage R.,Eli Lilly and Company | Brady L.S.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Coetzee T.,National Multiple Sclerosis Society | And 7 more authors.
Neuron | Year: 2014

Several large pharmaceutical companies have selectively downsized their neuroscience research divisions, reflecting a growing view that developing drugs to treat brain diseases is more difficult and often more time-consuming and expensive than developing drugs for other therapeutic areas, and thus represents a weak area for investment. These withdrawals reduce global neuroscience translational capabilities and pose a serious challenge to society's interests in ameliorating the impact of nervous system diseases. While the path forward ultimately lies in improving understandings of disease mechanisms, many promising therapeutic approaches have already been identified, and rebalancing the underlying risk/reward calculus could help keep companies engaged in making CNS drugs. One way to do this that would not require upfront funding is to change the policies that regulate market returns for the most-needed breakthrough drugs. The broader neuroscience community including clinicians and patients should convene to develop and advocate for such policy changes. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source


Dave K.D.,The Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinsons Research | De Silva S.,The Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinsons Research | Sheth N.P.,The Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinsons Research | Ramboz S.,Psychogenics, Inc. | And 18 more authors.
Neurobiology of Disease | Year: 2014

Recessively inherited loss-of-function mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1(Pink1), DJ-1 (Park7) and Parkin (Park2) genes are linked to familial cases of early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). As part of its strategy to provide more tools for the research community, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF) funded the generation of novel rat models with targeted disruption ofPink1, DJ-1 or Parkin genes and determined if the loss of these proteins would result in a progressive PD-like phenotype. Pathological, neurochemical and behavioral outcome measures were collected at 4, 6 and 8. months of age in homozygous KO rats and compared to wild-type (WT) rats. Both Pink1 and DJ-1 KO rats showed progressive nigral neurodegeneration with about 50% dopaminergic cell loss observed at 8 months of age. ThePink1 KO and DJ-1 KO rats also showed a two to three fold increase in striatal dopamine and serotonin content at 8 months of age. Both Pink1 KO and DJ-1 KO rats exhibited significant motor deficits starting at 4. months of age. However, Parkin KO rats displayed normal behaviors with no neurochemical or pathological changes. These results demonstrate that inactivation of the Pink1 or DJ-1 genes in the rat produces progressive neurodegeneration and early behavioral deficits, suggesting that these recessive genes may be essential for the survival of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). These MJFF-generated novel rat models will assist the research community to elucidate the mechanisms by which these recessive genes produce PD pathology and potentially aid in therapeutic development. © 2014. Source


Kang U.J.,Columbia University | Goldman J.G.,Rush University Medical Center | Alcalay R.N.,Columbia University | Xie T.,University of Chicago | And 13 more authors.
Movement Disorders | Year: 2016

Background: Identifying PD-specific biomarkers in biofluids will greatly aid in diagnosis, monitoring progression, and therapeutic interventions. PD biomarkers have been limited by poor discriminatory power, partly driven by heterogeneity of the disease, variability of collection protocols, and focus on de novo, unmedicated patients. Thus, a platform for biomarker discovery and validation in well-characterized, clinically typical, moderate to advanced PD cohorts is critically needed. Methods: BioFIND (Fox Investigation for New Discovery of Biomarkers in Parkinson's Disease) is a cross-sectional, multicenter biomarker study that established a repository of clinical data, blood, DNA, RNA, CSF, saliva, and urine samples from 118 moderate to advanced PD and 88 healthy control subjects. Inclusion criteria were designed to maximize diagnostic specificity by selecting participants with clinically typical PD symptoms, and clinical data and biospecimen collection utilized standardized procedures to minimize variability across sites. Results: We present the study methodology and data on the cohort's clinical characteristics. Motor scores and biospecimen samples including plasma are available for practically defined off and on states and thus enable testing the effects of PD medications on biomarkers. Other biospecimens are available from off state PD assessments and from controls. Conclusion: Our cohort provides a valuable resource for biomarker discovery and validation in PD. Clinical data and biospecimens, available through The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, can serve as a platform for discovering biomarkers in clinically typical PD and comparisons across PD's broad and heterogeneous spectrum. © 2016 The Authors. Movement Disorders published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society © 2016 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. Source


Kang J.-H.,University of Pennsylvania | Kang J.-H.,Inha University | Mollenhauer B.,Paracelsus Elena Klinik | Mollenhauer B.,University of Gottingen | And 24 more authors.
Acta Neuropathologica | Year: 2016

The development of biomarkers to predict the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD) from its earliest stage through its heterogeneous course is critical for research and therapeutic development. The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study is an ongoing international multicenter, prospective study to validate biomarkers in drug-naïve PD patients and matched healthy controls (HC). We quantified cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) alpha-synuclein (α-syn), amyloid-beta1-42 (Aβ1-42), total tau (t-tau), and tau phosphorylated at Thr181 (p-tau) in 660 PPMI subjects at baseline, and correlated these data with measures of the clinical features of these subjects. We found that CSF α-syn, t-tau and p-tau levels, but not Aβ1-42, were significantly lower in PD compared with HC, while the diagnostic value of the individual CSF biomarkers for PD diagnosis was limited due to large overlap. The level of α-syn, but not other biomarkers, was significantly lower in PD patients with non-tremor-dominant phenotype compared with tremor-dominant phenotype. In addition, in PD patients the lowest Aβ1-42, or highest t-tau/Aβ1-42 and t-tau/α-syn quintile in PD patients were associated with more severe non-motor dysfunction compared with the highest or lowest quintiles, respectively. In a multivariate regression model, lower α-syn was significantly associated with worse cognitive test performance. APOE ε4 genotype was associated with lower levels of Aβ1-42, but neither with PD diagnosis nor cognition. Our data suggest that the measurement of CSF biomarkers in early-stage PD patients may relate to disease heterogeneity seen in PD. Longitudinal observations in PPMI subjects are needed to define their prognostic performance. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source


Steger M.,Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry | Tonelli F.,University of Dundee | Ito G.,University of Dundee | Davies P.,University of Dundee | And 14 more authors.
eLife | Year: 2016

Mutations in Park8, encoding for the multidomain Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) protein, comprise the predominant genetic cause of Parkinson’s disease (PD). G2019S, the most common amino acid substitution activates the kinase two- to threefold. This has motivated the development of LRRK2 kinase inhibitors; however, poor consensus on physiological LRRK2 substrates has hampered clinical development of such therapeutics. We employ a combination of phosphoproteomics, genetics, and pharmacology to unambiguously identify a subset of Rab GTPases as key LRRK2 substrates. LRRK2 directly phosphorylates these both in vivo and in vitro on an evolutionary conserved residue in the switch II domain. Pathogenic LRRK2 variants mapping to different functional domains increase phosphorylation of Rabs and this strongly decreases their affinity to regulatory proteins including Rab GDP dissociation inhibitors (GDIs). Our findings uncover a key class of bona-fide LRRK2 substrates and a novel regulatory mechanism of Rabs that connects them to PD. © Steger et al. Source

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