iPSC Sub-study Complete

Tue, Feb 20, 2018

PPMI is a nimble study designed to allow for quick adaptation to emerging needs in the Parkinson’s disease (PD) research field.  In response to increased interest from researchers in well-characterized induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) adult cells capable of giving rise to any human cell type, PPMI launched the Golub Capital iPSC Sub-Study in collaboration with Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) in 2016.   The goal of this sub-study was to collect blood for iPSC generation from a total of 135 PPMI participants, including collections from PD patients, healthy volunteers, and affected and unaffected participants with clinical and genetic risk factors for PD.


iPSCs are an extremely useful tool for PD researchers because they can be used to generate neurons, including dopaminergic neurons, the cell type whose decrease in the brains of PD patients is thought to cause the manifestation of motor and other PD symptoms.  Researchers can then use these neurons for many research endeavors, such as screening potential Parkinson’s drugs, comparing the behavior of neurons generated from iPSCs from PD patients to neurons generated from iPSCs from healthy volunteers, and comparing neurons generated from iPSCs of PD patients with genetic mutations to neurons generated from iPSCs from non-genetic PD patients.  These types of research projects and many others are critical for understanding how underlying pathways and genetics may influence the risk profile and presentation of Parkinson’s.  In addition, preliminary research using human-derived iPSCs may expedite the timeline for testing potential Parkinson’s drugs in humans when compared to doing preliminary research in traditional animal models.  PPMI iPSCs are a particularly valuable resource to researchers because of the accompanying clinical, imaging, genetic, and biologic data that are collected at PPMI participant visits and through analysis of other PPMI samples.


As of December 2017, all 135 blood collections for iPSC generation is complete.  Over 60 researchers have expressed interest in these cell lines and two researchers have been approved by PPMI Study Leadership to access these iPSCs.   PPMI Study Leadership would like to thank the site personnel and PPMI participants at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at San Diego, the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders, Boston University, the University of California at San Francisco, Beth Israel Medical Center, Northwestern University, Banner Sun Health Research Institute, the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens for their contributions to this sub-study and their continued commitment to PD research.   The iPSC sub-study in PPMI is made possible by funding from Golub Capital, led by Lawrence and David Golub, who is also a member of the MJFF’s Board of Directors.


Researchers interested in requesting cell lines should visit the Cell Line Request Page.  For more information on cell line availability, please email resources@michaeljfox.org.