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Republished from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Today, The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) and Sage Bionetworks launched the Biomarker and Endpoint Assessment to Track Parkinson’s Disease (BEAT-PD) DREAM Challenge, in partnership with Evidation Health, Northwestern University, Radboud University Medical Center and BRAINCommons.

BEAT-PD is a data challenge designed to benchmark new methods to predict Parkinson’s disease progression. Participants will use sensor data to predict a patient’s medication status (on/off) or the severity of specific symptoms (dyskinesia, tremor). Winners share a $25,000 prize provided by MJFF.

“Sensor data holds potential for helping us understand the daily experience of Parkinson’s patients and how disease progresses over time,” says Mark Frasier, PhD, senior vice president of research programs at MJFF. “We look forward to seeing what the teams can accomplish with the data and to further develop biomarkers in Parkinson’s.”

Sensor-based technologies—including smartphones, watches and fitness trackers—can remotely monitor health, which is particularly useful for motor disorders like Parkinson’s. This provides more and possibly better information that can be assessed during a doctor’s visit. The issue has been a lack of standardized methods to convert sensor-based data into digital biomarkers for patients whose symptoms can vary, which is why there remains no approved, widely used digital biomarkers.

MJFF is committed to the development of biomarkers (or biological markers) for Parkinson’s. These could be used to diagnose the disease, track progression and understand how people benefit (or don’t) from new therapies being tested in clinical trials. All of this would improve care and treatment for people with the disease.

Data for the BEAT-PD DREAM Challenge is provided by The Michael J. Fox Foundation and was collected by researchers at Northwestern University, University of Rochester, University of Alabama, University of Cincinnati and Radboud University Medical Center. The data is sourced from the Clinician Input Study (CIS-PD) and REAL-PD study (also known as the Parkinson’s at Home Study). Both studies collected mobile sensor data from patients with Parkinson’s as they went about their daily lives.

To learn more or register for the Challenge, visit from our partners at Sage Bionetworks.