News & Updates

NIH, FDA Launch Database for PD Precision Medicine

Jessica Kent

The Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) program for Parkinson’s disease (PD) has launched a data portal to help researchers develop precision medicine therapies for the condition.

The portal includes de-identified data collected from 4,298 patients with Parkinson’s and will enable researchers to study complex data sets and perform genome-wide analyses.

AMP PD is a public-private partnership between NIH, the FDA, and industry and non-profit organizations. AMP PD aims to transform and accelerate drug development for Parkinson’s by providing the expertise and support needed to identify which biomarkers have the greatest potential to predict PD and progression of the disease.

“AMP PD is a true example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts,” said Walter Koroshetz, MD, director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

“The combination of many data sets could allow researchers greater power to analyze potential biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease. This effort follows other AMP programs which have the shared goal of changing the way we go about the business of studying disease.”

The AMP PD Knowledge portal contains data from cerebrospinal fluid, RNA, plasma, and DNA samples previously collected through programs like the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) BioFIND Study, and several others.

AMP PD also provides a platform for researchers to incorporate additional data sources and new types of data, including proteomics.

“One important part of this platform is that, in addition to providing a place for storing complex data, we are also providing the tools to analyze that data within the platform itself,” said Debra Babcock, MD, PhD, program director at NINDS and co-chair of the AMP PD Steering Committee.

“In this way, we are bringing scientists to the data, which will increase opportunities for collaboration.”

AMP PD scientists have already worked to ensure that the data added into the portal is accurate described in a consistent way, a step known as data harmonization. This allows researchers to compare information gathered from different programs and use best practices to integrate new data from the community into the platform. The data is longitudinal, which will allow scientists to analyze data across an individual’s lifespan or disease course.

Researchers can apply for access to the knowledge portal and interact with the entire dataset through a single data use agreement.

Recent efforts to improve treatment for Parkinson’s disease have relied on data and advanced analytics tools. In a recent study, researchers from Florida Atlantic University's (FAU) College of Engineering and Computer Science developed a machine learning tool that can continuously monitor tremors in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

“A single, clinical examination in a doctor's office often fails to capture a patient's complete continuum of tremors in his or her routine daily life,” said Behnaz Ghoraani, PhD, senior author, an assistant professor in FAU's Department of Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a fellow of FAU's Institute for Sensing and Embedded Network Systems (I-SENSE) and FAU's Brain Institute (I-BRAIN).

“Wearable sensors, combined with machine-learning algorithms, can be used at home or elsewhere to estimate a patient's severity rating of tremors based on the way that it manifests itself in movement patterns.”

With the launch of the AMP PD database, scientists expect to further enhance Parkinson’s research and treatment with big data.

“The AMP model has provided a unique platform for bringing together diverse patient cohorts, advances in technology and scientific expertise to study Parkinson’s disease on a scale that has not been attempted before,” said David Wholley, Senior Vice President, Research Partnerships, FNIH.

“With the AMP PD Knowledge Portal, we are helping the scientific community worldwide to fast-track discoveries that we hope will ultimately help Parkinson’s disease patients and their families.”