AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

The Michael J. Fox Foundation Accelerates Research to Cure Parkinson’s with Intel and AWS

Parkinson’s disease (PD) — a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement, cognition, mood and autonomic function — affects an estimated 5 million people worldwide. Because symptoms vary from individual to individual, research into the disease is further complicated by the lack of objective data. As is typical of many applications used for clinical research, the collection, storage, and analysis of data is complex, expensive, and time-consuming.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to ensuring the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. As part of a research initiative to evaluate the use of wearable technology to measure and track Parkinson’s symptoms, MJFF partnered with Intel and is utilizing their big data analytics platform to run a number of research projects. This platform is hosted on AWS’s infrastructure, using various scalable big data and IoT technologies, to collect, process and store large streams of de-identified data from the smartphones and wearable devices of study participants.

“The Foundation is working in collaboration with AWS and Intel to ensure that we have a robust technology platform to run effective research studies. Partnering with AWS and Intel ensures that our data is stored securely and efficiently, and allows us to not have to worry about the IT components of the project and really focus on the objective at hand,” said Lauren Bataille, Senior Associate Director, Research Partnerships, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Research data is hosted on AWS and is made available to Parkinson’s researchers around the world via Intel’s platform. Through analysis, data may reveal new, useful insights about living with Parkinson’s disease.

“Today, the drug development pipeline for Parkinson’s is the best it has been in decades. And when you add the benefit of technology to enable us to complement that genetic information with phenotypic information, basically what it is like to live with the disease every day – that can be a game changer. These are the kinds of dovetailings that could catapult us into much faster progress,” said Deborah W. Brooks, Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, The Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Watch this video to learn more about how the Foundation is using big data to gain new insights into Parkinson’s disease and accelerate a cure.