More Sites Offer Free Parkinson Disease Genetic Testing and Counseling 

  • Genetic testing
  • Movement disorders
  • Parkinson disease

The Parkinson's Foundation has added 5 new sites for PD GENEration: Mapping the Future of Parkinson's Disease, a first-of-its-kind national initiative that offers free genetic testing and counseling for clinically relevant Parkinson disease (PD)-related genes. The new sites include Massachusetts General Hospital, Northwestern Medicine, Struthers Parkinson's Center at Park Nicollet, University of California San Diego and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to the pilot site at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. 

Genetic testing results obtained through this study will be used for future research by scientists to develop improved treatments and personalized medicine for PD. The study also aims to help people with PD and their physicians identify whether they may qualify for enrollment in certain clinical trials based on their test results. Currently, genetic tests are not available or not affordable for people with PD and frequently are not covered by health insurance or offered with genetic counseling.

"This program will help us better understand how people with PD experience symptoms and respond to treatments related to this disease so that scientists can start building the foundation for precision medicine in PD," said James Beck, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "Now even more people with PD will have better access to their genetic data through their clinicians." 

After the pilot period, the Parkinson's Foundation hopes to expand the program to approximately 50 Centers of Excellence and Parkinson Study Group sites across the US in 2020, offering genetic testing and genetic counseling for up to 15,000 people with PD.

"Through the PD GENEration program, we can continue to improve Parkinson's care by accelerating and supporting research," said John L. Lehr, president and chief executive officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "We are thrilled to expand this unique initiative that offers the Parkinson's community the opportunity to learn more about their diagnosis while helping scientists advance the understanding of the disease."

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