A biomarker that can diagnose Parkinsons disease

Researchers at Kobe University and Hiroshima University have successfully developed a biomarker that will enable Parkinson’s disease to be rapidly and inexpensively diagnosed from blood serum samples.

It is hoped that being able to diagnose the disease faster will also lead to the development of new treatment methods. This would be greatly beneficial, especially for aging societies like Japan.

This study was conducted by Professor IMAISHI Hiromasa and Academic Researcher IHARA Kohei et al. of Kobe University’s Biosignal Research Center, and Assistant Professor OGURO Ami’s research group at Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life. These research results were published in Springer Nature’s open journal Scientific Reports on April 22, 2022.

Main Points

  • Japan is a super-aging country. As the elderly population continues to increase, it is predicted that the number of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases will also rise.
  • Parkinson’s disease is a type of neurodegenerative disease for which a simple diagnosis method had yet to be developed.
  • Currently, various biomarkers are in development that can be used to evaluate diseases. These biomarkers can detect the presence of a disease, as well as monitor its progress and the effectiveness of treatment.
  • In a world-first, the researchers succeeded in developing a biomarker that can be used to easily and inexpensively assess Parkinson’s disease. It requires a mere approx. 30μ of serum from the patient.
  • It is hoped that this biomarker can be used to develop diagnosis and treatment methods for Parkinson’s, as well as to advance research into discovering the molecular mechanism behind this disease.

Research Background

Japan has the fastest growing elderly population in the world and is consequently facing related issues such as the decline in elderly people’s Quality of Life (QoL) and pressure on the caregiving sector.As people age, their risk of developing various diseases increases. In particular, neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease have a significant impact on the sufferer’s QoL. In addition, Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world; believed to affect around 1~2% of the over 60s population. Furthermore, it is predicted to cost the global market 19.9 billion US dollars (including treatment costs) in 2030.

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