As research has expanded in the area of Parkinson’s genetics, researchers have been able to uncover a number of genes which have been linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s.

PD Frontline is a remote study offering online genetic testing for people with Parkinson’s, so they can be referred, if they wish, to appropriate clinical trials and other studies.

A large-scale phase 3 clinical trial of ambroxol, a drug currently in use to treat respiratory conditions, will start early in 2023. The ASPro-PD trial is a world-first phase 3 trial aimed at establishing ambroxol’s potential to slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

Funded by Cure Parkinson’s alongside its strategic partners, Van Andel Institute and the John Black Charitable Foundation, and by the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, the drug discovery and development arm of Parkinson’s UK, this trial will be led by Professor Anthony Schapira at UCL and preparations for recruitment of trial participants have already started; everyone taking part in the ambroxol trial will be genetically screened, via PD Frontline, as part of the trial selection criteria.


About 20% of Parkinson’s diagnoses are associated with genetic variations. Researchers believe that by understanding how certain genes contribute to the development of Parkinson’s, such as the GBA and the LRRK2 genes, they will be able to develop new drugs which target specific biochemical pathways. To test whether these drugs work, the study teams need to identify people with abnormalities in these genes who can then be enrolled in appropriate clinical trials. 

PD Frontline is informing this targeted approach and the study team are encouraging participants to enrol now. The process is simple:

  • Visit the PD Frontline website, register your details, sign the consent form and login
  • Answer some straightforward questions
  • The team will send you a saliva kit with instructions to collect your DNA
  • Return this in the pre-paid envelope
  • The team will get in touch with you once your results are known

If your results show you are a carrier of a specific gene, you will receive an invitation for genetic counselling (over the phone). Both negative and positive results will be uploaded onto your study profile for you to view, and a letter will be sent to your GP and clinician, in accordance with your provided consent.

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