Research Studies: Parkinson's and Related Disorders

For more study specific information or to refer patients, please contact our research coordinators directly.

Interventional Studies: Biological Studies for Early Parkinson's Disease

Sure - PD Inosine for Early PD (Enrolling) 

This is a two and a half year long clinical trial to test Inosine's efficacy in slowing the progression of Parkinson's Disease (PD). This study seeks to evaluate what may show to be a neuroprotective agent for early PD patients who have not yet developed sufficient motor symptom disabilities that require treatment with anti- Parkinsonism therapies. Eligible patients are over 30 years of age who are currently NOT taking dopaminergic medications and have been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease for less than three years. For further information about this study please contact our research coordinator Cindy Lawrence Tel:858-246-2537 or via email See brochure 

Antibodies Against Alpha-Synuclein (active; with limit anti-Parkinson's treatment) 

This clinical trial is an approximately 20 week long study to evaluate whether a single dose of an investigational immunotherapy (antibody) drug given intravenously is safe and well-tolerated in PD patients. The drug is designed to bind to and remove the alpha-synuclein, which is believed to build up to abnormally high levels in the brains of subjects with PD. This is a single dose study involving a pre-dose lumbar puncture followed by 6 day / 5 night inpatient stay with 24 hour continuous heart monitoring and two post infusion lumbar punctures. Additional study activities include 3 MRIs, 1 DaTScan, clinical evaluations, neuropsychological testing, and blood sample collections. Eligible patients are between 40 - 80 years of age who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease for less than five years, have no motor fluctuations or dyskinesias, are not receiving symptomatic PD treatment (no dopamine agonists/selegiline/rasagiline in last 3 months & no levadopa in last 30 days), and are willing ot remain off symptomatic PD medications during study. For further information about this study, please contact our research coordinator Cindy Lawrence Tel: 858-2462537 or via email

Interventional Studies: PD with Fluctuations

Dopamine Agonist for PD Patients with Fluctuations (Enrolling)

This Clinical trial is approximately 23 weeks/161 day long study comparing the effectiveness of a new D1/D5 Dopamine Agonist when taken with L-Dopa versus only taking L-Dopa alone for the management of "OFF" episodes. This new dopamine agonist may have he potential to reduce OFF time in subjects with PD who are experiencing significant OFF time despite their current dopaminergic therapy. Patients eligible for this study should have a meaningful response to L-Dopa with well- defined "OFF" time duration of >2.5 house during the waking day. Patients must be on at least 400mg/day of L- Dopa/day for 28 days prior to enrollment and should not have memory problems. For further information please contact our research coordinator Kim Thomas Tel: 858- 822- 5751 or via email: See brochure.

Interventional Studies: PDD Patients

SYNAPSE Study for PDD Patients (Enrolling)

This is a six month long clinical trial to evaluation the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of a 5-HT6R antagonist, called SYN120, when administered orally to patients with Parkinson's Disease Dementia. Preclinical data support to use of 5- HT6R antagonists to improve cognition. This study aims to determine if SYN120 may possibly lessen psychotic symptoms that worsen quality of life and limit titration of anti- Parkinson medication, and improve patient's ability to think, understand, learn and recall. Eligible patients are PDD patients with noticeable decline in memory and cognitions who are on a stable cholinesterase inhibitor regimen and can be tested. For Further information about this study, please contact our research study coordinator Lissette Moreno at 858-822-1399 or

Observational Studies: For Parkinson's 

Cognition in PD and related Disorders 

Dr. J. Vincent Filoteo’s group is conducting cross sectional and longitudinal studies of cognition (e.g., memory, attention, problem solving) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and related disorders. Their goal is to better characterize the nature of neuropsychological and psychological changes in individuals with PD as well as identify novel predictors of future cognitive decline. Please contact Dr. Filoteo's research coordinator at 858-552-8585 ext 5593 if you are interested in participating, or if you would like to refer a patient to our study. Link to Dr. Filoteo's publications

Related Publications:

  • Prospective Memory Deficits are Associated with Poorer Everyday Functioning in PD. See the pdf.
  • Validation of the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale in Parkinson's Disease. See the pdf.
  • Implicit Category Learning Performance Predicts Rate of Cognitive Decline in Nondemented Patients With Parkinson's Disease. See the pdf.

Creation of Stem Cells from Patients with Familial PD

The UCSD Movement Disorder Center is conducting a study to learn more about the Genetics of familial Parkinson disease by using skin cells from affected individuals to be transformed into pluripotent stem cells and ultimately into neurons genetically identical to patients.  We are currently seeking volunteers with either a known genetic mutation of Parkinson’s disease (e.g., LRRK2) and/or have a known family history of Parkinson’s disease. Non-UCSD patients will first need to be seen by a UCSD Movement Disorder Specialist to confirm the diagnosis and medical history. Participation will include a single skin biopsy and blood draw at our offices in La Jolla. For more information, please call (858) 822-MOVE or email

Dopamine Agonist for PD Patients with Fluctuations (Enrolling)

This clinical trial is an approximately 23 week/161 day long study comparing the effectiveness of a new study drug (dopamine Agonist) when taken with Levodopa (L-Dopa) versus only taking L-Dopa alone for the management of "OFF" episodes. Patients eligible for this study should have a meaningful response to L-Dopa with well-defined "OFF" episodes and must have a total daily "OFF" time of ≥ 2.5 hours during the waking day. Patients must be on at least 400mg/day for 28 days prior to enrollment. They should also not have any memory problems. For more information, please call (858) 822-MOVE or email


Handwriting movements

Dr. Michael P. Caligiuri kinematic research studies of handwriting movements to identify writer-based sources of variability in signature authentication in movement disorders and dementia for forensic applications. Please contact Christina Gigliotti, PhD, at 858-246-1243 for more information about these exciting opportunities. Link to Dr. Caligiuri's publications.


Hispanic Parkinson's Disease Community Outreach Study (Also Available in Spanish)

The purpose of this study is to find out more about why most Hispanic individuals are not accessing care and not involved in clinical research for Parkinson's disease. We hope that discovering barriers related to participating in Parkinson's disease research among the Hispanic community can help in the development of guides and educational tools that provide education and awareness about the routine care for PD, participating in PD clinical research, and addressing issues related to PD within the Hispanic community. 

Requirements: Hispanic over age 40 who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease; or caregiver of Hispanic PD individuals (spouses/partners of PD patients or someone that spends at least 3 hours/day for 3-4 days a week with Hispanic PD patient). 


For further information, please contact our research coordinator Veronica Lopez at 858-822-5786 or 

Pre-Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (Pre-PPMI)

The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is a landmark observational study designed to help define biomarkers, or indicators of Parkinson's disease (PD) progression. PPMI has added a new arm to the existing study that will investigate certain risk factors of PD. By better understanding risk factors, such as smell loss, doctors may be able to identify people with Parkinson’s before the onset of motor symptoms. Early detection is a crucial step in understanding the causes of PD and developing better treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

The task of identifying risk factors for PD offers friends and family of people with Parkinson’s a unique role to play in Parkinson’s research. People who are over the age of 60 and who do not have Parkinson’s are needed for this study that will assess the relationship between Parkinson’s and sense of smell. Find out if you are eligible to participate by taking this smell survey or call (877) 525-PPMI. If you have Parkinson’s disease, we need your help to reach the 10,000 people without PD who may qualify. Invite family and friends to follow their noses to research that could make a difference for Parkinson’s research. UC San Diego is a site for this research study, and you may also contact Christina Gigliotti, Ph.D. at 858-246-1243 for additional information.

Postural Stability in PD (Active) 

Drs. Litvan and Nandipati are studying the postural stability in patients with PD using an iPad application. Eligible patients should be between 40 - 90 years of age, able to stand comfortably for 5 minutes unaided, and have no memory problems. Estimated start date May 2016.


Sticker Sensor Study

Dr. Litvan is studying the applicable uses of a sticker sensor called epidermal electronic system (EES) sensor. There are three uses currently being studied:

EEG: This sub-study is studying if this sticker sensor can be used to find out more about processing in the brain. The sticker sensor will be placed on the forehead and be connected to a portable EEG to measure their brain waves while viewing visual stimulus on a computer screen and/or listening to auditory stimulus. Patients may be asked to take this system home and complete fifteen minutes of testing a day for a week. Currently Enrolling.

EMG: Prior studies have demonstrated a hyperactivation of a laryngeal muscle at rest in patients with PD with needle-based EMG. This sub-study is determining if this EES sticker sensor and standard transcutaneous EMG electrodes can replicate this study in a non-invasive manner. During this study, the sticker sensor will be placed on the skin to record muscle activation while the subject is making different phonations. Currently Enrolling.

EGG: This sub-study is studying if this sticker sensor can be used to monitor the GI tract non-invasively. The sticker sensors will be placed on your abdomen and will monitor your GI tract while you stay sitting for up to four hours for each recording. Currently enrolling.

For more information, please call Andreas Lau (858) 822-5873 or by email



Using MRI to study cognitive changes

Dr. Deborah Harrington’s lab uses functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging to study the neural bases for cognitive changes in Parkinson’s disease. The goal is to identify early signatures of dysfunction in brain networks that support cognition and to explore individual differences in the risk for cognitive decline.  If you are interested in participating or would like to refer a potential volunteer, please contact Dr. Harrington’s research coordinator at 858-642-6392. Link to Dr. Harrington's publications

Using technology to study sensorimotor deficits in PD

Dr. Howard Poizner’s lab is using contemporary technologies for 3D motion analysis, robotics, and immersive virtual reality, in conjunction with noninvasive brain imaging (EEG), to examine the nature of the sensorimotor deficits in Parkinson's disease and the effects of drug versus surgical therapies in ameliorating these deficits.

Our goal is to better understand the functional roles of basal ganglia-cortical circuits in motor control and sensorimotor learning, and, in the process, to provide quantitative, objective assessments of motor dysfunction and specific effects of therapies. Find out about participating in our studies at the Poizner Lab website.