Researchers at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute are calling for participants from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to join the Australian Parkinson’s Genetics Study (APGS). The study, supported by the Shake It Up Australia Foundation and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, aims to identify the genetic factors influencing a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s and its symptoms. With Parkinson’s affecting over 100,000 Australians and an annual economic cost of over $775.4 million, the study is crucial to advancing medical breakthroughs in diagnosing, managing, and treating Parkinson’s.
The APGS is part of the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2), involving over 160,000 participants from 58 countries, with over 7,000 participants from Australia. Researchers are looking to recruit 10,000 Australian residents diagnosed with Parkinson’s for the study, with a particular focus on participants from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Currently, only 7% of APGS participants identify as non-European. Researchers aim to increase this to 15% or more in the coming months.
“Medical breakthroughs often rely on accurate patient data, and the APGS has the potential to provide this if we have the participants,” says Dr Miguel Renteria, lead researcher from QIMR Berghofer. “We encourage anyone with Parkinson’s to sign up and be part of this effort to revolutionize our understanding of the disease.”
To better understand differences in the disease presentation, progression, and treatment response among different populations, researchers are particularly interested in patients of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. While Parkinson’s affects people from all ethnicities, there are some variations in the genetic and clinical characteristics in Asian populations such as Chinese and Indians. Filipino-Australians are encouraged to participate in the study to help advance medical breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s.
Participation in the study involves a 25-minute commitment from the comfort of one’s home, including donating a saliva sample and completing a questionnaire. All participant information will be maintained in accordance with Australian regulations, and participation is strictly confidential.
Founder of Shake It Up Australia Foundation, Clyde Campbell, who is also living with Parkinson’s, encourages those living with Parkinson’s to sign up for the study to help understand its complexities.
For more information or to sign up, visit the Australian Parkinson’s Genetics Study website.