Date: Thursday 6 October 2022
Time: 5pm till 6pm
Researcher: Associate Professor Cedric Bardy
Research Institute: Flinders University
ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL MODULATORS TO PROTECT NEURONS IN PARKINSON’S DISEASE
Associate Professor Cedric Bardy’s study uses live human neurons (brain cells) in a petri dish to examine the biological basis of Parkinson’s disease. The neurons are generated in the lab with non-invasive stem cell technologies. The idea is to prevent overload of electrical activity occurring in patient’s neurons to rescue energy levels, protect further neuronal losses and halt the progression of the disease.
Cedric says, “When talking to people living with Parkinson’s disease, I often hear complaints of exhaustion. This got me thinking. In Parkinson’s disease, fewer dopamine cells are left behind to do the work of thousands of cells that died too early. That creates a huge energetic burden, which we know can become damaging if not stopped. Artificially raising the energy in brain cells is not easy, but what if we could give the cells a break from too much activity? A few hours break each day, just enough to give these brain cells a chance to restore their energy levels and repair themselves from all the extra work? We could use natural venoms to our advantage to do just this.
There is so much untapped therapeutic potential from natural venom peptides, and Australia is a gold mine for it. This exciting research project brings together experts from three continents (North America, Europe and Australia). Our team will test whether the right venom molecule could transiently lower midbrain dopamine neuron activity, improve cellular repair and make these precious cells last longer. It’s a long shot but if it works, a therapeutic breakthrough that can slow down neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease will change the lives of millions of people worldwide.”