Using a Blood Collection Device to Advance Genetic Research in Parkinson Disease: James Beck, PhD & Ben Casavant, PhD


The chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation and chief executive officer of Tasso discussed their company partnership to expand and accelerate genetic research in Parkinson Disease. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"Geographic diversity is incredibly important in Parkinson research. Tasso's device helps reach patients in remote areas where access to phlebotomists may be limited."

PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson’s Disease,an international genetics study led by the Parkinson’s Foundation, tests for mutations among select, clinically relevant genes to accelerate research, advance treatments, and improve care for patients with Parkinson disease (PD). The goal of the study is to make genetic testing accessible to patients with PD, empower those with the disease and their clinicians to know their genetic status, and identify clinical trials in which they might enroll. PD GENEration returns genetic findings to all participants through a genetic counseling session, bridging the knowledge gap between patients and clinicians to accelerate research collectively.

In recent news, the foundation announced a partnership with Tasso that would leverage the company’s patient-centric, end-to-end sample collection and logistics platform for PD GENEration.1 Patients in the study will receive a kit containing a Tasso device that will collect a small blood sample in the comfort and convenience of their home. Online proctors will help guide participants through the collection process and provide support for a successful collection. After collection, patients can ship their sample in a pre-paid box to a lab for research analysis. Overall, the goal of this research is to screen the collected samples for mutations among select, clinically relevant PD genes.

James Beck, PhD, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, and Ben Casavant, PhD, CEO and cofounder of Tasso, recently sat down with NeurologyLive® in an interview to discuss how the blood collection device can simplify the process of collecting a sample of blood compared with traditional methods. The duo also talked about the role of genetic analysis in Parkinson research, and how Tasso is contributing to it. Additionally, Beck and Casavant talked about the importance of geographic diversity in the context of Parkinson research and patient access to testing.

Click here to learn more about PD GENEration.

1. Parkinson’s Foundation and Tasso Announce Partnership to Accelerate Parkinson’s Disease Genetics Research. News Release. Parkinson’s Foundation. Published April 24, 2024. Accessed May 2, 2024.
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