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expert reaction to study finding certain proteins in the blood may help predict Parkinson’s up to 7 years before motor symptoms

A study published in Nature Communications looks at identifying blood biomarkers to predict Parkinson’s disease.


Professor Ray Chaudhuri, Professor of Movement Disorders and Neurology at King’s College Hospital and King’s College London and the Medical Director of the Parkinson Foundation International Centre of Excellence at King’s College, said: 

“Blood tests for Parkinson’s for diagnosis and prediction remain a massive unmet need and, in this study, the well-known group from Goettingen who are also collaborators with Kings Parkinson’s centre describe a panel of blood tests which may predict the development of Parkinson up to 7 years ahead. If replicated in larger studies these tests or panel may prove to be invaluable in supporting the diagnosis of Parkinson which work from our centre and others have shown is a syndrome and not a single disease. Questions however remain about the ethics of predictive diagnosis in relation to proper counselling as well as absence currently, of any disease modifying treatment.”


Professor Michele Vendruscolo, Professor of Biophysics, Director of the Chemistry of Health Laboratory, Co-Director of the Centre for Misfolding Diseases, University of Cambridge, said:

“This study reports a promising early diagnostic test for Parkinson’s disease based on a panel of blood biomarkers, which can be carried out with equipment already available in major hospitals. This test will facilitate the selection of individuals at risk for prevention trials, prior to clinical manifestations. Furthermore, since the biomarkers correlate with the clinical progression, they could be used to monitor the efficacy of experimental therapeutics.”


Professor David Dexter, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: 

“This research, co-funded by Parkinson’s UK, represents a major step forward in the search for a definitive and patient friendly diagnostic test for Parkinson’s. Finding biological markers that can be identified and measured in the blood is much less invasive than a lumbar puncture, which is being used more and more in clinical research. 

“With more work, it may be possible that this blood-based test could distinguish between Parkinson’s and other conditions that have some early similarities, such as Multiple Systems Atrophy or Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

“The findings add to an exciting flurry of recent activity towards finding a simple way to test for and measure Parkinson’s.”


Plasma proteomics identify biomarkers predicting Parkinson’s disease up to 7 years before symptom onset’ by Jenny Hällqvist et al. was published in Nature Communications on Tuesday 18 June 2024 16:00 (BST).


Declared interests

Prof Chaudhuri: No conflicts to declare.

Prof Dexter: No interests to declare apart from being an employee of Parkinson’s UK.

Prof Vendruscolo: No conflicts of interest to declare.

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