UF joins global study into Parkinson’s onset and progression

By Todd Taylor

Nikolaus McFarland,
Dr. Nikolaus McFarland

The University of Florida has been selected to join The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s landmark clinical study, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a global project seeking to discover new insights into the onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease by studying people with and without the disease.

On Dec. 2, The Michael J. Fox Foundation announced the expansion of the PPMI to include nearly 50 clinical study sites across 12 countries and grow its in-clinic study recruitment from 1,400 to 4,000 participants. Launched in 2010, the PPMI has developed a robust Parkinson’s disease data set and library of biological samples to accelerate the discovery of better treatments, cures and even prevention of the disease.

A primary aim of the project’s expansion is to include more participants of diverse backgrounds — including those with identified risk factors but aren’t yet diagnosed — to get a clearer picture of how the disease originates and progresses over time.

“The Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health is excited to join this initiative,” said Nikolaus McFarland, M.D., Ph.D., a UF professor of neurology and principal investigator of UF’s study site. “We hope that these insights will help improve diagnostic tests and spur the development of novel treatments to slow progression and eventually prevent Parkinson’s.”

Read The Michael J. Fox Foundation press release about PPMI’s expansion.