Sep 24, 2019
People who treat Parkinson’s disease (PD) and many people with PD know that there is not one typical form of the disease. One thing that may affect its symptoms and course is a person’s genetic make-up. The different genes that are risk factors for PD and the variations between them and even within the same gene may determine how the disease presents, progresses, and responds to treatments. With the aim of uncovering genes and mechanisms responsible for PD, the Parkinson’s Foundation initiated PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease, a study to look at the genes of 15,000 people with PD and correlate those findings with disease symptoms, progression, and response to treatments.
At the same time, participants in PD GENE will quickly get feedback on their genetic status that may allow them to enter clinical trials specific for the risk factors that they carry. The results will be much more comprehensive than what commercial genetic tests can provide, and it will all be free to the participants, including genetic counseling. In this podcast, neurologist and lead investigator, Dr. Roy Alcalay of Columbia University, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, and patient advocate Anne Hall give some background on the PD GENE genetics initiative.