Skip to main content
Andy Surinach, Executive Director of RWE and Data Strategy, delves into recent breakthroughs in Parkinson’s disease research.

In April this year, we drew attention to the fact that it was Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for the second most common neurodegenerative disorder in the United States. Parkinson’s disease is estimated to affect up to one million Americans and ten million people worldwide.¹‚²

Age is the most significant known risk factor for Parkinson’s, with most diagnoses occurring in those 60 or older.¹,³ With an expected doubling of Parkinson’s cases by 2040, the direct and indirect costs – already at $52 billion annually in the United States – are set to rise dramatically as the US population ages.²  There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, and no approved disease-modifying therapies exist.⁴ Current management focuses on medications like levodopa to boost dopamine levels, alongside lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

A cause for hope

Current diagnostic tools are unable to diagnose Parkinson’s disease in the pre-clinical phase of the disease, and there have been no biomarkers that could inform an early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. However, recent advances offer hope:

  • In 2023, a promising study found that α-synuclein seed amplification assays (SAAs) can differentiate between those with Parkinson’s disease and healthy controls.⁵
  • In parallel, a testing kit is currently in development that shows promise for early detection of neurodegenerative brain diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, potentially enabling at-home or point-of-care testing.⁶
  • In the digital health space, fueled by Apple-led research, the FDA has cleared three iOS applications which passively monitor important symptoms like bradykinesia, tremor, and dyskinesia through the Apple Watch. ⁷,⁸

Data-driven opportunities

These exciting developments in biomarkers, diagnostics, and digital health promise a wealth of valuable real-world data (RWD). RWD emerging from these developments could power drug development by offering insights into early-stage disease progression,  treatment response variations, and the impact of lifestyle interventions.

A data-driven approach may accelerate the discovery of disease-modifying therapies that can change the future of Parkinson’s disease. RWD can enhance our understanding of diverse patient populations often underrepresented in traditional clinical trials. It can also help identify factors that influence long-term disease outcomes, potentially leading to more personalized treatment plans and improved quality of life for those with Parkinson’s disease.

Find out more about our real-world evidence solutions.

Genesis Research Group is proudly supporting the Michael J Fox Foundation For Parkinsons Research and



  3. Tolosa E, Garrido A, Scholz SW, Poewe W. Challenges in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Lancet Neurol. 2021;20(5):385-397. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(21)00030-2
  4. Siderowf A, Concha-Marambio L, Lafontant DE, et al. Assessment of heterogeneity among participants in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative cohort using α-synuclein seed amplification: a cross-sectional study. Lancet Neurol. 2023;22(5):407-417. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(23)00109-6
  6. Bodily TA, Ramanathan A, Wei S, et al. In pursuit of degenerative brain disease diagnosis: Dementia biomarkers detected by DNA aptamer-attached portable graphene biosensor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2023;120(47):e2311565120.
  7. StrivePD (, Parky (, NeuroRPM (
  8. Powers R, Etezadi-Amoli M, Arnold EM, et al. Smartwatch inertial sensors continuously monitor real-world motor fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease. Sci Transl Med. 2021;13(579):eabd7865.


111 River Street, Suite 1120
Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, US