13,000th Donation to Pioneering Parkinson's Disease Research

Pioneering Parkinson's disease research at the world-leading Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) has been given a major boost thanks to a generous donation.
Parkinson's Research, scientific image

Ground breaking studies conducted by experts at the University of Sheffield, which could pave the way for new treatments to halt the progression of the disease, have benefitted from a £20,000 donation from a local supporter.

The news comes as thousands of people across the country mark Parkinson's Awareness Week 2013 (15-21 April 2013). The title of this year's campaign 'Put yourself in my shoes' focuses on changing public attitude and increasing awareness of the day-to-day challenges faced by Parkinson's sufferers.

Dr Oliver Bandmann, Reader in Neurology at SITraN, highlighted the importance of the national campaign, he said: "Parkinson's is the second most common degenerative disease after Alzheimer's but unfortunately it just doesn't seem to get as much attention or funding.

"More than 120,000 people are affected by the disease in the UK and 80 patients are diagnosed every single day. Many people have the misconception that the disease only affects older people however one in 20 patients are under the age of 40.

"Treatments available to patients only improve some of their symptoms and people who are prescribed the drugs over a long period of time often suffer side effects. In addition, the drugs are often no longer very effective in the advanced stages of the disease. .

"There are currently no drugs available which stop the cell death – which is what our groundbreaking research at SITraN focusses on. All degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) cause cells in the brain to die. If we can unlock ways to prevent this and stop cells from dying, then the progression of the disease would be slowed down dramatically which would hugely improve a patient’s quality of life."

The major anonymous donation will give the research conducted by Dr Bandmann and his team a significant boost – helping to speed up research and make further developments.

"This donation will make a huge difference to our research and will help us with powerful drug screens to analyse the specific effect that drugs already developed for other conditions have on Parkinson's disease," added Dr Bandmann.

"We are exceptionally grateful for any donations as they help us to carry out investigations more quickly and in turn help to attract further funding from other charities and organisations – they really make a huge difference."

This was the 13,000th gift donated to the University of Sheffield's Development and Alumni Relations office which has helped to advance our expert researchers understanding of diseases.

SITraN buildingMiles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is an extremely generous gift from a very kind anonymous donor. We would like to express our deep appreciation for their generous support.

"The University of Sheffield was founded through the generosity of local people. Medical research has been undertaken since 1828 resulting in many major breakthroughs happening here in Sheffield.

"The University has charitable status and gifts and legacies for medical research are of huge significance."

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