Several months ago, I broached the issue of direct-to-consumer genetic testing in PD. There, my message was that you should look before you leap and take the time to understand what genetic testing would tell you (and whether you really wanted to know it). Implicit in that discussion is the need to have accurate results. This is different than the desire to have the weather forecaster tell you if it is going to rain or not tomorrow. For most people, inaccurate weather predictions are a nuisance more than anything.
From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs Should or could a human gene be patented? On June 13th, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered their unanimous ruling regarding what has been called the Myraid Genetics case. The plaintiffs in this case sought to invalidate Myriad’s patent on two genes that when mutated can lead to a significant increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Because of the patent for these two genes, Myriad, a clinical diagnostic testing company, was the only entity that was permitted to perform the clinical tests that can both inform women if they… Read More
From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs The genetic testing company 23andMe recently announced that it had reached its goal of enrolling 10,000 people with Parkinson’s into its genetic testing program. I personally think that is fabulous. While genetic abnormalities that lead to Parkinson’s disease are rare, finding these cases has been a boon to understanding PD for all. From the location and then discovery of the first PD gene by PDF’s first supported fellow, Roger Duvoisin, M.D., and his colleagues in 1996 to the more recent genetic discoveries of today, PDF steadfastly supports research into understanding how genetics and… Read More
Come Celebrate Spring with PDF! The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) and the Young New Yorkers for the Fight Against Parkinson’s committee invite you to Celebrate Spring http://www.pdf.org/en/celebrate_spring, an evening of cocktails, dancing, live auction, hors d’oeuvres and dessert to benefit PDF’s research programs. Here are all the details: Wednesday, April 4 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM LAVO, 39 East 58th Street, New York, NY For tickets visit http://www.pdf.org/en/celebrate_spring. Entertainment: Music by DJ Brenda Black New to this year’s event is a live auction hosted by Kathleen Guzman from Heritage Auction. Items include: 4 days/3 nights in Budapest, Hungary; Fishers Island Club… Read More
A few months back, Dr. James Beck, PDF’s Director of Research Programs attended the annual Movement Disorder Society annual meeting. Among the many scientific sessions and meetings, was a gathering of the team behind LARGE- PD, the Latin American Research Consortium on the Genetics of Parkinson’s Disease. Just today that team sent us a photo of that meeting – where they discussed their investigations into Parkinson’s and genetics in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay. They are led in these efforts by Cyrus Zabetian, M.D., M.S., of the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Learn more about this study
From James Beck, Ph.D., Director of Research Programs Here are some additional scientific updates from this week’s 2nd World Parkinson Congress (WPC). Michael Schlossmacher, M.D., reported the results of his recent experiments that demonstrate that mutations in the GBA gene, which were recently identified as a major risk factor for Parkinson’s disease (PD), actually contribute to an increase in the levels of alpha-synuclein in nerve cells. Alpha-synuclein is the protein that accumulates in dying nerve cells and is the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. This result provides a biological explanation as to the significance of these GBA mutations and their relevance… Read More