What Research is Being Done?

According to the Parkinson’s disease Foundation, the question most often asked, is when rather than what.
Those who often ask the question of when are those who are also suffering from Parkinson’s, and their loved ones. Many scientists and researchers firmly believe that a cure to PD is on the horizon. It is in the hands of these people that so many effected by this disease find hope. Mentioned below are a few of the strides being made in Parkinson’s research:
The Parkinson’s disease Biomarkers Programs (PDBP), a major National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) initiative, is aimed at discovering ways to identify individuals at risk for developing PD and to track the progression of the disease. [4] Identifying biomarkers (signs that may indicate risk of a disease and improve diagnosis) will speed the development of novel therapeutics for PD.  Projects are actively recruiting volunteers at sites across the U.S.  The NINDS also collaborates with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) on BioFIND, a project collecting biological samples and clinical data from healthy volunteers and those with PD.
Stem cells: Scientists are exploring various types of cells, including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), as opportunities for PD drug discovery. iPSC technology is used to define disease mechanisms and discover the most promising treatments for sporadic PD. To pursue this area of research, NINDS established a PD cell research consortium in 2009 in collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson’s disease Foundation. [5]

Motor complications: Involuntary movement, including dyskinesia (difficulty controlling intended muscle movement), as well as tremor, dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions), freezing of gait (inability to start walking), and other motor complications become evident as PD progresses; these symptoms are often difficult to treat.  NINDS scientists have studied the safety and effectiveness of drugs and interventions in alleviating motor symptoms in persons with PD.  For example, basic research using adenosine found it could improve motor complications associated with PD.  A current NINDS clinical study of motor complications is testing an at-home device to evaluate PD movement symptoms while performing different tasks. [6]