URMC gets $9.2 million for Parkinson's research
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Source: Democrat & Chronicle
Smartphone apps and wearable technology developed and tested in part at the University of Rochester Medical Center may help doctors diagnose Parkinson’s disease faster and allow doctors and patients to more closely track the disease
URMC received a $9.2 million multi-year grant to work on digital tools to improve understanding of the disease, enroll a broader range of people in studies and speed development of new treatments.
The grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke was announced Wednesday and came with announcement of URMC as a Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research.
URMC researchers will be working with tech companies and colleagues at academic institutions such as Johns Hopkins, MIT and the University of Michigan.
The grant will fund four areas of research, with the common thread of using technology to collect data that will help scientists and doctors better understand the neurological disease that affects how the brain controls movement. The money will fund research into:
- Using artificial intelligence to model the progression of the disease to predict outcomes of clinical trials.
- Work with the commercial genetic testing company 23andMe to identify and track people who have a particularly less-understood form of the disease.
- Develop the next generation of the iPhone app that helps people track their symptoms.
- Work with device manufacturers to build and test remote sensors and wearable tech that will give information about daily life with Parkinson’s.
Nationally, about 50,000 people a year are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, according to the National Institutes of Health. The rate of the disease increases with age.
Parkinson’s disease was the 10th leading cause of death in Monroe County, according to a report from the county health department that used data from 2010 through 2014 on chronic disease. Parkinson’s accounted for 1 percent of all deaths. Across New York, 1,368 people died from Parkinson’s in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence program was developed in honor of former Congressman Morris K. Udall of Arizona. Udall was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1979. He retired from Congress in 1991 and died in 1998.