Last updateWed, 17 Jul 2024 6pm

Merck and The Michael J. Fox Foundation Offer Service to Advance Parkinson’s research

SMC® immunoassay technology from Merck provides new understanding of cell dysfunction to slow disease progression.

SMC® immunoassay technology from Merck detects small changes in biomarker levels, indicating level of cell dysfunction
New understanding of cell dysfunction contributes to future therapeutics aimed at slowing disease progression
Merck’s service offered through support from MJFF is key to accelerating a path for improved treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Merck, a leading science and technology company, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF), are advancing research aimed at slowing progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Through funding from MJFF’s “Biomarkers to Support Therapeutic Trials Program”, Merck's SMCxPRO® immunoassay technology has been used to help detect low levels of a biomarker associated with cell dysfunction in patients. Now, the service is available to the scientific community through support from the MJFF. This will make it possible to track the response of different therapeutic options to disease progression.

“Using the SMCxPRO® immunoassay technology to assess cell dysfunction represents a significant step forward in developing new treatment options for people fighting PD,” said Jean-Charles Wirth, Head of Science & Lab Solutions, Life Science business sector of Merck. “We’re proud to offer our service through support from The Michael J. Fox Foundation to make this research possible. Our goal is to empower breakthroughs in neuroscience research tools and other technologies that impact life and health with science.”

The research is focused on the biomarker pS65 ubiquitin (pS65-Ub). PD is a neurodegenerative disease that predominantly affects certain nerve cells in a specific area of the brain. By the time motor symptoms become visible, 60% to 80% of these cells have already been lost or impaired. Before that, affected cells stop functioning properly, which ultimately leads to their death. One readout of dysfunction in these cells is pS65-Ub. Extremely sensitive test methods are required to detect it. Using the SMCxPRO® immunoassay platform, used to quantify levels of a specific target within a sample, scientists can now detect small concentrations of pS65-Ub. This helps, for the first time, to track the response of different therapeutic options on disease progression.

“Ultrasensitive assays allow us to research multiple biomarkers we know play a role in disease progression. These would be valuable to diagnose and stratify patients and for future therapeutic development. Current known therapies for PD can treat symptoms but do not slow or halt disease progression. We are hopeful this collaboration will contribute to improved quality of life for patients,” said Nicole Polinski, PhD, director of research resources at MJFF.

Currently, PD impacts around 10 million people worldwide. Its prevalence has doubled in the past 25 years, making it the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world. The number of people with the disease is expected to further grow to 20 million by the year 2050. Merck’s contribution to Parkinson research has been recognized by CiteAb Awards, based on being the company with the most citations related to Parkinson’s research in 2023.



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