The National Institutes of Health Launches "Accelerating Medicines Partnership Parkinson's Disease" to Advance Treatment Research

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

As part of their Accelerating Medicines Partnership (AMP) initiative, which aims to foster collaboration among government, biopharmaceutical, life science, and non-profit organizations to advance medical treatment, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched AMP Parkinson’s disease (AMP PD).  The goal of the project is to overcome obstacles and increase successful treatment advances for Parkinson’s disease (PD). AMP PD will focus on biomarkers for tracking the progression of PD that may also be targets for potential new drugs.

“Advancing treatments for Parkinson’s disease is hampered by insufficient understanding of biological networks; drugs aimed at seemingly promising therapeutic targets fail in clinical trials,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “By combining our expertise and resources, AMP PD partners hope to increase our collective odds of success in accelerating the development of effective treatments for a million Americans who suffer from this debilitating disease.”

As life expectancy increases globally, the number of people living with PD is expected to nearly double over the next decade. That increase is also expected to be a significant driver of increased health-care costs. Although there has been considerable research, no disease-modifying drugs have been approved for PD yet.

AMP PD partners will invest over $12 million over the next 5 years through the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH); partners include Celgene, GlaxoSmithKline, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Pfizer, Sanofi, and Verily. FNIH will manage the project and the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), will provide a matching $12 million, pending availability of funds. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to provide regulatory guidance.

“There is a wealth of biosamples and data already collected. . . ” said NINDS Director Walter Koroshetz, M.D. “Sharing resources from public-private partnerships to generate and analyze ‘big data’ made available through AMP may be our greatest opportunity for accelerating the pace of discovery for translation into more effective treatments for PD.”

A key benefit of these studies will be access to the AMP PD Knowledge Portal. With its development supported through $2 million of in-kind funding from Verily, the AMP PD Knowledge Portal will enable sharing of de-identified patient data among the entire research community, allowing access to data from 3,000 PD cases and 1,700 healthy control subjects from studies funded by NINDS and MJFF, including the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative. Results will be shared via the Knowledge Portal, making genome-wide analyses possible on a greater scale than ever.

The AMP has previously focused on Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis/lupus, providing data portals for those diseases that are accelerating diagnostic and prognostic research for those diseases. Maria C. Freire, Ph.D., president and executive director of FNIH said, “The expansion of AMP into Parkinson’s disease is a testament to the success of this groundbreaking initiative that is radically changing the way we approach early-stage drug development.”

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