The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) and Intel Corporation announced today a collaboration aimed at improving research and treatment for Parkinson’s disease — a neurodegenerative brain disease second only to Alzheimer’s in worldwide prevalence. The collaboration includes a multiphase research study using a new big data analytics platform that detects patterns in participant data collected from wearable technologies used to monitor symptoms. This effort is an important step in enabling researchers and physicians to measure progression of the disease and to speed progress toward breakthroughs in drug development.
Anonymous patient data is aggregated and analyzed for new insight into Parkinson’s disease via a new partnership between Intel and the Michael J. Fox Foundation. (Photo: Business Wire)
“Nearly 200 years after Parkinson’s disease was first described by Dr. James Parkinson in 1817, we are still subjectively measuring Parkinson’s disease largely the same way doctors did then,” said Todd Sherer, PhD, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. “Data science and wearable computing hold the potential to transform our ability to capture and objectively measure patients’ actual experience of disease, with unprecedented implications for Parkinson’s drug development, diagnosis and treatment.”
“The variability in Parkinson’s symptoms creates unique challenges in monitoring progression of the disease,” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group. “Emerging technologies can not only create a new paradigm for measurement of Parkinson’s, but as more data is made available to the medical community, it may also point to currently unidentified features of the disease that could lead to new areas of research.”
Tracking an Invisible Enemy
For nearly two decades, researchers have been refining advanced genomics and proteomics techniques to create increasingly sophisticated cellular profiles of Parkinson’s disease pathology. Advances in data collection and analysis now provide the opportunity to expand the value of this wealth of molecular data by correlating it with objective clinical characterization of the disease for use in drug development.