The American Society for Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (ASCPT) hosted a Patient Forum on March 28 at the 2024 annual meeting. I was privileged to chair the discussion, which centered on Sarah Zenner-Dolan – a person with Parkinson’s disease and a retired biotech professional – who has been extremely impactful regarding patient-centric outcome measures development. Sarah’s moving and inspiring representation of her disease journey, her experience participating in clinical trials, and her expression of what is clinically important to her were clearly very meaningful to the eager ASCPT audience.

Also joining the discussion were Diane Stephenson, Executive Director, Critical Path Institute (C-Path) for Parkinson’s Consortium; Qi Liu, Associate Director for Innovation & Partnership at the Office of Clinical Pharmacology, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and Peter Schmidt, Chief Scientific Officer, Rho. 

Medical innovation is impacting Parkinson’s disease at a rapid pace, particularly in molecular diagnosis and digital health technology / digital biomarkers, enabling advances in drug development. One theme of the Patient Forum was how those developments affect patients. More importantly, this Patient Forum demonstrated that, in clinical care and clinical research, patients are participants and partners, not passengers. 

Digital biomarkers are bringing new levels of speed and accuracy to Parkinson’s disease research, and – at Koneksa – we stand at the forefront of this evolution. We’re developing and validating digital biomarkers enhanced by robust, validated, and patented algorithms – and, where possible, involving patient input – to support quicker, more actionable Parkinson’s disease research. 

More generally, as disease definitions and research evolve, the scientific and medical community should continue to integrate biology, biomarkers, symptoms, and, importantly, the patient experience. In clinical research, patients are participants and partners, not passengers.