New tool could lead to earlier diagnosis, better treatment of Parkinson's disease

July 6, 2017 by Dov Smith
Immunohistochemistry for alpha-synuclein showing positive staining (brown) of an intraneural Lewy-body in the Substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease. Credit: Wikipedia

Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in humans, after Alzheimer's disease. It is typically characterized by changes in motor control such as tremors and shaking, but can also include non-motor symptoms, from the cognitive to the behavioral. An estimated seven to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson's disease, with medication costing approximately $2,500 a year, and therapeutic surgery costing up to $100,000 dollars, per patient.

Making an accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's, particularly in early stages and mild cases, is difficult, and there are currently no standard diagnostic tests other than clinical information provided by the patient and the findings of a neurological exam. One of the best hopes for improving diagnosis is to develop a reliable test for identifying a biomarker, i.e. a substance whose presence would indicate the presence of the disease.

Now, Suaad Abd-Elhadi, a PhD student at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Medicine, has developed the lipid ELISA. This novel diagnostic tool could lead to earlier detection of Parkinson's, along with better tracking of the disease's progression and a patient's response to therapy.

How the diagnostic ELISA works

ELISA stands for "enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay." An assay is a procedure used in laboratory settings to assess the presence, amount and activity of a target entity, such as a drug, cell or biochemical substance. ELISA is a common assay technique that involves targeting cellular secretions.

In the case of the lipid ELISA, the cellular secretion of interest is a specific protein called the alpha-Synuclin protein. This protein serves as a convenient biomarker that is closely associated with the tissues where Parkinson's disease can be detected, along with the neurological pathways the disease travels along, causing its characteristic symptoms.

As a simple and highly sensitive diagnostic tool that can detect Parkinson's biomarkers, the lipid ELISA could lead to a minimally invasive and cost-effective way to improve the lives of Parkinson's patients. Recently, Abd-Elhadi has demonstrated a proof of concept to the high potential of this lipid-ELISA assay in differentiating healthy and Parkinson's affected subjects. She is now in the process of analyzing a large cohort of samples, including moderate and severe Parkinson's, and control cases, as part of a clinical study.

Explore further: Discovery may offer hope to Parkinson's disease patients

Related Stories

Discovery may offer hope to Parkinson's disease patients

May 22, 2017
The finding of a common protein abnormality in these degenerative diseases supports a hypothesis among experts that abnormal deposition of proteins in many neurodegenerative disorders reflects an early change in these proteins.

Blood biomarker could mark severe cognitive decline, quicker progression among Parkinson's patients

September 18, 2013
A genetic mutation, known as GBA, that leads to early onset of Parkinson's disease and severe cognitive impairment (in about 4 to 7 percent of all patients with the disease) also alters how specific lipids, ceramides and ...

Scientists discover way of developing test for Parkinson's disease diagnosis

December 7, 2016
Misfolded proteins associated with Parkinson's disease were detected in cerebrospinal fluid by scientists at McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), paving the way to ...

Possible biomarkers for Parkinson's disease identified

February 23, 2012
Scientists at Durin Technologies, Inc., and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine (UMDNJ-SOM) have announced a possible breakthrough in the search for a diagnostic biomarker ...

Parkinson's study could pave way for early detection test

August 29, 2016
A test that can detect Parkinson's disease in the early stages of the illness has moved a step closer.

Study determines saliva gland test can spot early Parkinson's disease

February 2, 2016
Researchers from Mayo Clinic in Arizona and Banner Sun Health Research Institute have determined that testing a portion of a person's submandibular gland may be a way to diagnose early Parkinson's disease. The study was published ...

Recommended for you

Critical toxic species behind Parkinson's disease is glimpsed at work for the first time

December 14, 2017
Researchers have glimpsed how the toxic protein clusters that are associated with Parkinson's Disease disrupt the membranes of healthy brain cells, creating defects in the cell walls and eventually causing a series of events ...

Tapeworm drug could lead the fight against Parkinson's disease

December 12, 2017
Researchers at Cardiff University, in collaboration with the University of Dundee, have identified a drug molecule within a medicine used to treat tapeworm infections which could lead to new treatments for patients with Parkinson's ...

High-intensity exercise delays Parkinson's progression

December 11, 2017
High-intensity exercise three times a week is safe for individuals with early-stage Parkinson's disease and decreases worsening of motor symptoms, according to a new phase 2, multi-site trial led by Northwestern Medicine ...

Changes in diet may improve life expectancy in Parkinson's patients

November 24, 2017
New research from the University of Aberdeen shows that weight loss in people with Parkinson's disease leads to decreased life expectancy, increased risk of dementia and more dependency on care.

Good cells gone bad: Scientists discover PINK-SNO

November 21, 2017
A new study from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is the first to show precisely how a process in nerve cells called the S-nitrosylation (SNO) reaction—which can be caused by aging, pesticides and pollution—may contribute ...

Genetic defects in the cell's 'waste disposal system' linked to Parkinson's disease

November 14, 2017
An international study has shed new light on the genetic factors associated with Parkinson's disease, pointing at a group of lysosomal storage disorder genes as potential major contributors to the onset and progression of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.