James Beck, PhD: Parkinson Genetic Testing for Clinical Trials

November 18, 2020
James Beck, PhD
James Beck, PhD

The chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation detailed the benefits expanded access to genetic testing for patients with Parkinson disease would bring to the research setting.

"What’s more efficient is to be able to offer widespread genetic testing now. As soon as these clinical trials become available to individuals, they already have that answer.”

Understanding a patient population and the genetic makeup of the participants within a clinical trial can have a crucial effect on treatment outcomes and efficacy measures. The same can be applied for Parkinson disease (PD), where an approximately 10% to 15% of the patient population has a genetic form of the disease. However, enrolling and testing hundreds of patients with PD into a clinical trial can be time consuming, and even inefficient if not done properly.

With recently announced additional funding, the PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease initiative from the Parkinson’s Foundation will enroll 15,000 people with PD, test them, develop the results, and ensure they receive the proper clinical care they need. The ultimate long-term goal is to push for the increased use of genetic testing, which may lead to more accurate clinical trials, and the development of more precision medicine.

NeurologyLive sat down with James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer, Parkinson’s Foundation, to discuss how increased access to genetic testing will benefit clinical trials. He stressed how it can impact research from both an operational and efficacy standpoint.