Ground breaking research into debilitating degenerative disease given generous boost

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.

Parkinsons

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 : "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.

Parkinsons1"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.

SITraN"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.

Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations at the University of Sheffield, said: "This is an extremely charitable 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."

Additional information

Donations made to the University of Sheffield really can help make the difference, enabling investments in state-of-the-art facilities and equipment and ground breaking research.
If you are interested in making a donation to the University, please contact our Development and Alumni Relations office on 0114 222 1073. Donations can be made online at https://onlinepayments.shef.ac.uk/donations/

Parkinson's UK
For more information about the condition and Parkinson's Awareness Week visit http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/support-us/parkinsons-awareness-week.aspx

The University of Sheffield
With nearly 25,000 of the brightest students from 117 countries coming to learn alongside 1,209 of the world’s best academics, it is clear why the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading universities. Staff and students at Sheffield are committed to helping discover and understand the causes of things - and propose solutions that have the power to transform the world we live in.

A member of the Russell Group, the University of Sheffield has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2011 for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007), recognising the outstanding contribution by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

One of the markers of a leading university is the quality of its alumni and Sheffield boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students. Its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, Siemens, Yorkshire Water and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad.

The White Rose University Consortium (White Rose) a strategic partnership between 3 of the UK's leading research universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York.

Since its creation in 1997 White Rose has secured more than £100m into the Universities.

Contact

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859
a.l.pullan@sheffield.ac.uk