University Hospitals Selected as Study Site for the Black and African American Connections to Parkinson’s Disease (BLAAC PD) Study
February 01, 2024
CLEVELAND—University Hospitals (UH) has been selected by the Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2) as one of four new study sites for the Black and African American Connections to Parkinson’s Disease (BLAAC PD) study.
BLAAC PD is an initiative of GP2 in a dedicated effort to better understand the genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) among underrepresented populations by genotyping more than 150,000 individuals from around the world. Most recently, BLAAC PD contributed to findings of a novel GBA1 variant in individuals with PD and African ancestry, which demonstrated that the variant is prevalent throughout African populations.
With the selection as a BLAAC PD site, UH will receive funding to support study visit costs, supplies, community engagement strategy support, staffing support, and participant incentives. Additionally, as a part of GP2, UH becomes a part of the largest PD genetics consortium in the world.
“We are happy to be a part of the network of BLAAC PD sites across the U.S. and the GP2 global network in order to expand understanding of Parkinson’s disease within the Black and African American communities,” said Camilla Kilbane, MD, neurologist at UH and Director, Parkinson’s and Movement Disorder Center, Medical Director, Deep Brain Stimulation Program, and Program Director, Movement Disorders. “We look forward to continuing to contribute to a more holistic, global understanding of Parkinson’s Disease by increasing representation in our study populations and learning more about gene changes that may cause the disease.” Dr. Kilbane is also an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
This expansion will broaden the geographic diversity of BLAAC PD’s locations across the U.S. by increasing representation of the diverse U.S. Black and African American community, and build a base for greater discovery and application of findings across ancestries.
UH was one of four new sites included in this expansion, and joined UT Health in Houston, TX, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC.