Diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease in Patients with and without Dementia

Soreq Hermona, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences



LifeSciences and BioTechnology   


Parkinson’s Disease, PD, Dementia, Diagnostic Kit, Diagnostics, Non-Motor Symptoms, mRNA, Circulating RNA

Current development stage

General list: TRL3 Experimental proof of concept            


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with an expected 9 million patients worldwide by 2030. Currently, treatment for PD mainly consists of dopamine substitution with L-Dopa, aiming to alleviate the motor symptoms of the disease, which are believed to be caused by the death of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia Nigra.

The diagnosis of Parkinson's disease relies on expert opinion. Studies, however, have demonstrated that even experienced neurologists misdiagnose Parkinson's disease in about a quarter out of every one hundred cases. Diagnostic accuracy at disease onset, when neuroprotective treatment is purported to be most effective, is even lower; typically, at diagnosis, 70% of dopaminergic neurons have already died and the available treatment can only limit symptoms rather than achieve remission. Thus, there is a crucial need for biomarkers that are disease-specific and which precisely identify the disease course as early as possible. Additionally, part of the PD patients have dementia, but at present there is no objective diagnosis to identify them.

Circulating RNAs have been researched in recent years as an upcoming biomarker in PD. In particular, previous research raised several promising candidates for biomarkers of the disease, however, identifying clinically relevant rare circular RNAs and small non-coding RNA candidates such as microRNAs is rather complex, making the construction of an easy diagnosis tool for clinical use very difficult.

Our Innovation

We have discovered novel blood biomarkers that can differentiate between Parkinson’s disease patients with and without dementia. These biomarkers can be used to develop a diagnostic kit that can implicate treatment protocols and can also be used as a tool for companion diagnostics for drug development companies.


The current project is based on the use of mRNA transcripts from nucleated blood cells to differentiate between PD patients with and without dementia and using age-matched controls. It is based on comparing whole blood mRNA transcripts by RNA- sequencing, instead of restricting methods like microarrays and qPCR. This provides accesses to all mRNA  transcripts in the blood, as well as to all long non-coding RNAs. Use of technology for clinical diagnostic kit will not require tailored microarrays based on these sequencing results and will be based on the identified biomarkers.




  • Our invention can be used as a diagnostic tool for differentiating PD patients with or without dementia. Such differentiation may support clinician’s decisions in early stages and thus contribute to better and precise treatment.
  • Companion diagnostics:
  • Selection of sub-populations of PD patients for clinical trial recruitment
  • Collaboration with drug development companies



Contact for more information:

Mel Larrosa
VP Business Development Healthcare
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