The best biomarkers are accurate, simple to measure and inexpensive. Good biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases are badly needed. That's why the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center launched an important Biomarkers Discovery program in 2008, dedicated to discovering and validating biomarkers for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Crucial to biomarkers discovery is access to a large number of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's patients who are willing to donate blood and cerebral spinal fluid to the Program and allow us to examine their medical records. These records and samples are needed not only to discover new biomarkers but also to validate the value of other promising biomarkers techniques.
As such, the Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center created a novel opportunity for neurologists and investigators to pool resources. Briefly, we orchestrated arrangements with more than twenty neurologists in the community to help recruit patients willing to participate in our Biomarkers program. The aim is to establish a state-of-the-art repository - or BioBANK - of 2000+ subjects and related clinical information. We have already recruited 2,300 subjects.
Individually, none of the participating clinical practices could have orchestrated a collection of patients and samples of this size and complexity. Already well underway, the BioBANK is enabling collaborating researchers to quickly - and inexpensively - access large numbers of patient samples and related data to test their biomarker-related hypotheses and accelerate the advancement of the most promising ideas.