New Parkinson’s Research Grants Funded in Australia

Shake It Up are excited to announce funding for two new grants at The University Of Sydney. Through the support of the community we have to date co-funded over $10.4 Million into Australian Parkinson’s research at 12 different institutes.  Your continued support is helping us to find better treatments and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s. 

If you would like to learn more about the research we are funding please visit our Research Projects page.  You can support our research by donating here.   

Thanks to the support of our founding directors who cover all the administration costs of the foundation 100% of your donations make it’s into the hands of a researcher.

Peripheral Inflammatory Cytokine Profiling in Parkinson's

Study Rationale: 
A growing body of research suggests that inflammation contributes to Parkinson’s disease. However, the stages in the disease process that inflammation is prevalent and important are unclear. Our recent work suggests inflammation may be increased early in Parkinson’s disease. We now plan to replicate our earlier results and demonstrate that a panel of inflammatory markers is increased early in Parkinson’s disease.

Hypothesis:
Our hypothesis is that inflammation, as measured by a panel of inflammatory markers, is increased early in Parkinson’s disease.

Study Design:
We will measure inflammation in blood samples obtained from an international consortium managed by The Michael J. Fox Foundation. We will study subjects with genetic risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, who have not yet been diagnosed with the disease, and compare their inflammatory markers to healthy controls and patients who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease: 
Identifying early inflammatory markers for Parkinson’s would make it possible to determine which people with genetic risk factors are likely to go on to develop Parkinson’s disease, or possibly diagnose Parkinson’s disease in very early stages. This would pave the way for prevention and precision medicine approaches.

Next Steps for Development:
Our next steps would be to define a small panel of inflammatory markers that could be measured over time in a larger number of subjects. This would demonstrate the reproducibility of our results over time and help us better understand the relationship between inflammation and the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Studying Changes in Glucocerebrosidase Activity in People with Parkinson's Disease

 

Study Rationale: 

A dysfunction of the glucocerebrosidase (GCase) protein increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Blood cells called monocytes produce large amounts of this protein. The aim of this study is to determine how well the GCase protein functions in monocytes from the blood of people diagnosed with PD.

Hypothesis:
We hypothesize that the GCase protein will not function as well as it should in monocytes from the blood of people with Parkinson’s disease.

Study Design:
We will collect blood samples from people with Parkinson’s disease and people of similar age without Parkinson’s. In these blood samples, we will measure the function and amount of the GCase protein.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease: 
This project will help determine if the GCase protein may be useful as a Parkinson’s disease indicator measured via a blood test. Our results may also help to determine who will benefit most from the potential new therapies that restore GCase function in people with PD.

Next Steps for Development:
This project will help develop assays for measuring GCase function in blood cells called monocytes. If we find that GCase does not function as expected in monocytes from the blood of people with Parkinson’s, then more work would need to be done to determine how early in the course of disease the GCase dysfunction occurs and how much it contributes to PD symptoms.

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