Parkinson's disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition and the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Each day, 80 people in the UK are newly diagnosed with the disease, which affects over six million people globally. There is currently no cure or disease-modifying therapy.


Research at SITraN

The pioneering Parkinson's research, led by Professor Oliver Bandmann at SITraN, has succeeded in establishing new disease models, uncovering disease mechanisms, identifying drug targets and promising candidates for a neuroprotective therapy to slow down or stop Parkinson's disease.

Tracking Parkinson's and risk factors in Parkinson's disease

Professor Bandmann's team is participating in the world's largest long-term study on Parkinson's disease called Tracking Parkinson's.

Across the UK, 3,000 patients are being recruited into this study which is funded by the charity Parkinson's UK. They are also investigating risk factors for the disease such as the role of REM sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD) in a collaboration with Dr Michele Hu from Oxford University (Monument Discovery Award).

Mitochondrial biomarkers in Parkinson's disease

The team is currently undertaking a detailed assessment of mitochondrial function and morphology in patients with sporadic Parkinson's disease to identify patients most likely to benefit from mitochondrial rescue drugs. The role of microRNAs in developmental regulation and the pathogenesis of Parkinson's is also being investigated, as well as the potential to use microRNAs as disease biomarkers for early diagnosis and disease monitoring.

Using zebrafish as a new vertebrate animal model for Parkinson's disease

The SITraN team was the first group worldwide to establish a zebrafish model of familial Parkinson's disease.

They demonstrated that Parkin-deficient zebrafish share key features with human parkin-mutant Parkinson's disease patients, namely mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells. Most recently, the group has identified a novel dysregulated pathway in PINK1 mutant zebrafish.

The team has discovered that inhibiting a protein called Tigar normalises mitochondrial function and rescues the dopaminergic neurons. Tigar is a promising novel therapeutic target for disease modification in Parkinson's disease.

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