New Project Funded: Inflammation in Parkinson’s Disease

Study Rationale:

The contribution of inflammation to Parkinson’s disease (PD) is increasingly being recognized. However, the stage of the disease in which inflammation is prevalent and/or important remains unclear. Our recent work suggests that inflammation may be increased early in the course of PD.

Hypothesis:

We aim to replicate our previous findings and demonstrate that a panel of inflammatory markers is increased early in the course of Parkinson’s.

Study Design:

We will measure inflammation in samples obtained from an international consortium managed by The Michael J. Fox Foundation. We will study individuals who carry certain mutations (changes in genetic material) that increase their risk of Parkinson’s but do not have the disease, and will compare inflammation markers in healthy participants and those that have been diagnosed with PD.

Impact on Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:

Identifying those at higher risk of Parkinson’s or enabling an earlier diagnosis of PD represents fundamental steps toward more effective or personalized therapies.

Next Steps for Development:

We would next define a small panel of inflammatory biomarkers (track disease activity) that could be measured over time in a larger number of participants to demonstrate reproducibility of results over time and to better understand the relationship between inflammation and Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis.

About Nic DzmakoDr Nic Dzamko

Nic Dzamko works with Professor Glenda Halliday to understand the causes of Parkinson’s disease. In Particular Nic focuses on the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2), the leading genetic cause of autosomal dominant Parkinson’s disease. Nic has a biomedical science degree with first class honours and a Chancellors letter of commendation from Flinders University of South Australia and a PhD from the University of Melbourne. Nic has trained at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit in Dundee, Scotland.

Find out what inspires Nic Dzamko to focus on Neuroscience and the importance of medical research in our special “Under the Microscope” article.

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