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KU part of multisite, international Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative

The Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Division is a site for this landmark study by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

The Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Division in the University of Kansas School of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center has long been a leader in innovative research into ways to effectively treat and ultimately cure the progressive brain disease. That tradition continues with one of its newest studies, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), a multisite international observational study by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  

About PPMI

KU Medical Center is one of nearly 50 sites across 12 countries participating in an expanded PPMI, which is designed to identify biomarkers for the disease’s onset and progression. The study team is looking for people recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and people age 60 and older who do not have Parkinson's but are living with certain risk factors to participate in PPMI. Eligibility criteria for the study includes:

  • People diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the past two years and who are not yet taking medication
  • People age 60 and older who do not have Parkinson's, but are living with certain risk factors, including:
    • A parent, sister, brother or child with Parkinson’s
    • A genetic mutation linked to Parkinson’s (GBA, LRRK2, SNCA, PRKN, PINK1) 
    • Acting out dreams while asleep (REM sleep behavior disorder)
  • People with no known connection to Parkinson’s who wish to participate as control volunteers

As part of the study, participants will contribute biological samples and undergo assessments to characterize Parkinson’s risk, onset and progression.

“Findings from PPMI have taught us a lot about Parkinson’s biology and design of clinical trials testing potential new treatments, but there is much more to learn,” said Rajesh Pahwa, M.D., professor of neurology at KU Medical Center, chief of the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorder Division for the KU School of Medicine at KU Medical Center, and site principal investigator for PPMI. “We are proud to be partnering with The Michael J. Fox Foundation, other PPMI sites and the study’s dedicated volunteers, and we look forward to a future of disease prevention and better options for those living with Parkinson’s.”  

Landmark study

Launched in 2010, PPMI has built the most robust Parkinson’s disease data set and biosample library in the world dedicated to speeding up better treatments, cures and prevention strategies. The goal of the expansion is to triple enrollment in the study to 4,000, up from 1,400, through year-end 2023.

PPMI’s expansion also includes online enrollment of up to 100,000 individuals with and without a Parkinson’s diagnosis by year-end 2023. Anyone over age 18 in the United States can participate through the study’s online platform.   

Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Division research

The Parkinson’s Foundation has designated KU Medical Center as a Center of Excellence, one of 33 designated centers nationwide. These centers have earned a reputation for comprehensive care, strong clinical research and play a vital role in developing and disseminating new and better therapeutic approaches.

The division maintains some of the largest databases in the nation related to people with Parkinson’s disease, which include information about the majority of its patients who has undergone deep brain stimulation since the center’s program launched in 1994, as well as data on every new patient who visits the center. In addition to publishing extensively from the databases, researchers at the center engage in a high volume of clinical trials and launch investigator-initiated projects.

For more information about PPMI and other Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Division studies, visit its website and contact Kelly Lyons, Ph.D., at or 913-588-7159.

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Mailstop 2012
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-6970
Fax: 913-588-6965