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Parkinson’s Discovery a “Significant Breakthrough”
Detecting Disease Pre Symptoms

An Accurate Diagnostic Biomarker


Good news for Parkinson’s research: a new test, called the alpha-synuclein seed amplification assay (αSyn-SAA), is being called “the most significant breakthrough yet” in searching for a biomarker. This highly accurate test—with a sensitivity of 88% and specificity of 96%, noted as being “stunningly robust”—spots disease even before symptoms are seen. Published in Lancet Neurology, the paper was sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Researchers looked at people with PD, healthy controls, participants without scan evidence of dopaminergic deficit, prodromal participants, and nonmanifesting carriers. The test distinguished Parkinson’s from control volunteers.


“This study represents the largest analysis so far of the αSyn-SAA for the biochemical diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Our results show that the assay classifies people with Parkinson’s disease with high sensitivity and specificity, provides information about molecular heterogeneity, and detects prodromal individuals before diagnosis. These findings suggest a crucial role for the α-synuclein SAA in therapeutic development, both to identify pathologically defined subgroups of people with Parkinson’s disease and to establish biomarker-defined at-risk cohorts.”


Click to access the journal article.