Speeding up the search for a Parkinson's cure

We were one of the research charities at the 'Partnering for Cures' conference in New York earlier this week. One key question needed to be answered - how can the international research community break down barriers, learn to trust, and share information across different areas of research?

A priority for us at Parkinson's UK is finding out why nerve cells die to enable us to identify and develop new drugs. This is where collaboration gets exciting.

We know that some of the changes that occur in nerve cells affected by Parkinson's also occur in other conditions. And one of the researchers we fund in the UK, Professor Dario Alessi from Dundee, also has expertise in developing drugs to treat cancer.

Dario wants to use this expertise to develop new Parkinson's drugs. Some may already have been screened for other conditions. We're also developing animal models of Parkinson's, so we can work together with industry to screen potential new drugs that they may already have sitting on their shelves.

Sharing information is crucial. Many clinical trials for Parkinson's have taken place in the last few years, and the data for each is stored separately. Why not pool together everything we know so we can really understand why Parkinson's develops? And we can help to co-ordinate the sharing of information.

The message we've taken away from this week's meeting is that our Parkinson's UK research can really make a difference, combined with the powerful voice of our members promoting research, and our willingness to work together internationally.

After all, we are all working together for a common goal - to speed up the search for a cure for Parkinson's.

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