A non-invasive test for Parkinson’s Disease, potentially offering rapid, non-invasive diagnosis before the onset of symptoms

Parkinson’s Disease is an age-related degenerative neurological disorder characterised by shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination. It affects 2-3% of individuals over the age of 65, with above 6 million people diagnosed worldwide.

Current diagnosis for PD relies on physical symptoms which develop after the disease has manifested in a person, and up to 35% of patients are misdiagnosed with PD and in reality have a different disorder.

The University of Manchester is commercialising a test for PD before the development of symptoms using specific PD biomarkers on the skin. It is planning to do this through a new spinout company called SebOMIX, founded by Prof. Perdita Barran.

The non-invasive tests look at sebum samples, an oily secretion produced by the sebaceous glands, and is able to detect biomarkers for numerous diseases, including PD.

The test would be able to confirm a PD diagnosis in patients previously diagnoses with the disorder, to avoid initial misdiagnosis leading to inappropriate and ineffective treatments.

Dr. Perdita Barran, of The University of Manchester, stood in a laboratory, explaining the use of mass spectrometry in identifying the biomarkers of Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Perdita Barran uses mass spectrometry to identify the biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease.

There is a large market opportunity for SebOMIX, namely the development of the SebOMIX clinical testing service, the sales of testing platforms and sample collection kits to 3rd party clinical and research labs, and drug discovery trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies.

Patients and medical providers alike would benefit from the reduced diagnostic speed and increased accuracy of SebOMIX’s test.

SebOMIX plans on developing a centralised clinical testing laboratory within the UK, before expanding further into Europe and the United States.