How can we bring Parkinson’s disease into the age of personalized medicine? One such approach recently described by Alberto Espay (University of Cincinnati, OH, USA) is to subtype the disease according to the presence of certain biomarkers. This is an approach that he says could “up the ante in our ability to modify the disease”, moving us away from purely dopaminergic strategies that address only the ‘common denominator’ of the disease. We caught up with Dr Espay at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting (Boston, MA, USA, 22–28 April), where he told us more about his call for a biomarker-driven approach to subtyping Parkinson’s, and how this could change the way we both research and treat the disease.
Alberto Espay is Associate Professor and Endowed Chair of the James J and Joan A Gardner Center for Parkinson’s disease at the University of Cincinnati. After neurology training at Indiana University, he completed his clinical and electrophysiology training in Movement Disorders as well as an MSc program in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research (Toronto Western Hospital, University of Toronto, Canada). He has published over 120 peer-reviewed research articles and five books, including Common Movement Disorders Pitfalls and Disorders of Movement.