Shake It Up Progress Update June 2024
Thursday, 20th June 2024

Shake It Up Progress Update May 2024

It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through 2024, but with so many positive developments in Parkinson’s research, the year is flying by. 

In March, we were proud to announce the formation of the National Parkinson’s Alliance, a collaborative initiative bringing together key stakeholders living with Parkinson’s and leaders from a range of PD and research organisations. The Alliance will lead nationwide advocacy efforts for the Parkinson’s community, and we began by joining together to host the Australian Summit to End Parkinson’s at Parliament House.  

This was a significant moment for the Australian Parkinson’s community, as we united to advocate for urgent action to tackle the global Parkinson’s crisis. We are delighted that the government has now recognised and supported this plea with an announcement of $800,000 in funding to develop and implement Australia’s first National Parkinson’s Action Plan (more details below). 

Following this, our Shake It Up community joined forces in April for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in an extraordinary display of support for research, raising $330,000 to fund Australia’s best researchers in pursuit of better treatments and a cure. This was our highest fundraising total ever for this annual campaign, and we thank everyone who contributed to this milestone. We look forward to sharing updates about new research funded as a result of these efforts.  

Here are some of the other major progress areas so far in 2024: 

1. The National Parkinson’s Alliance Secures Federal Government Funding 

Shake It Up and The National Parkinson’s Alliance welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of $800,000 in funding over two years to develop and implement Australia’s first National Parkinson’s Action Plan (NPAP).

The NPAP will call for improvement in key areas, including: 

  • reducing stigma for people living with Parkinson’s  
  • improved education and capability of the health, disability and aged care workforce 
  • earlier detection and diagnosis of Parkinson’s, including more empathetic delivery of diagnosis and referral and access to a multi-disciplinary team  
  • better access to, and co-ordination of, evidence-based healthcare, resources, supports and treatments  
  • improved prevention of Parkinson’s  
  • better data on Parkinson’s prevalence and monitoring of practice gaps  
  • new and improved treatments and therapies, with greater access to clinical trials  
  • greater funding for research, including translation of current research into practice 

The Hon Mark Butler, Minister for Health and Aged Care, said,

“The National Parkinson’s Action Plan will provide a blueprint for managing Parkinson’s disease in Australia and support better health outcomes for people living with the disease.  

“This plan will help the community understand Parkinson’s disease better and help medical professionals to provide better care to people diagnosed with it. 

“While Parkinson’s is a debilitating condition, there is more that can be done to help sufferers to maintain their quality of life.”  

We look forward to bringing you further updates about the plan, including how community members can get involved, and how it will deliver positive change for people living with Parkinson’s in Australia. 

2. The Alfred Hospital Completes Refurbishment of a Cutting-Edge Clinical Trials Unit 

Last year, Shake It Up announced $150K in funding for Australia’s only early-phase neuroscience clinical trials facility to be refurbished with cutting-edge equipment. We are pleased to share that this refurbishment is now complete. The upgraded hub will give scientists the tools to conduct boundary-breaking trials in greater volume, increasing our understanding of Parkinson’s and pushing us closer to cracking the disease’s code. We also extend a sincere thank you to the generous Bendat Family Foundation, who wanted to make a tangible impact to Parkinson’s research and, via Shake It Up, provided this funding.

3. New Parkinson’s Research Funded at University of Sydney 

Shake It Up announced funding for a new research project investigating quantitative mapping of aSyn soluble and insoluble PTMs as a function of disease progression, led by Professor Glenda Halliday, PhD, at University of Sydney. You can learn more about this project by reading our Q&A with Professor Halliday here, who shared with us what this work will mean for people living with Parkinson’s.  

4. Shake It Up Is Announced as an Organisational Partner for WPC 2026 

The 7th World Parkinson Congress, also known as the WPC 2026, will take place in Phoenix, Arizona. Shake It Up is pleased to be a Platinum Partner for this event, and we invite members of the Parkinson’s community to save the date and join us. World Parkinson Congress 2026 will open its doors to neuroscientists, clinical researchers, clinicians, rehabilitation specialists, nutritionists, people with Parkinson’s, care partners and others. You can find out more about what to expect at WPC 2026 by reading our wrap-up of last year’s Congress, which was inspiring and illuminating for all attendees.  

5. A new Movement Disorder Clinician Research Capacity Building Program 

Shake It Up is working to increase capacity at clinical trial sites across Australia to give more people with Parkinson’s the opportunity to participate in clinical trials.  Clinical trials typically require reviews by experienced staff on multiple occasions: screening visits; baseline studies; clinical assessments as well as data and sample collection. The biggest issue facing most clinics is lack of resources and Shake It Up would like to encourage and attract more early to mid-career clinicians to train as Movement Disorder specialists and develop research capability. Keep an eye on our channels for more on this program coming soon.  

As we move into the second half of the year, we are excited to bring you further news of the progress being made. Research is accelerating at a faster pace than ever and Shake It Up is proud to be part of both national and global efforts to put Parkinson’s in the spotlight and fast-track efforts to slow, stop and cure the disease.  

We can’t do this without your support, and we thank you for your commitment to our mission. As always, 100% of every dollar we receive goes directly to research that is making a real difference for people living with Parkinson’s – now and into the future.  

Vicki Miller