The majority of people have Parkinson’s for so far unexplained reasons, but the basic mechanisms are shared amongst all. The neurodegeneration that is at the root of Parkinson’s is a result of the loss of signals between brain cells. The genetic cases have enabled a vast amount of research into the mechanisms that are causing this loss of signal.
One excellent example is the work of Dr. Miratul Muquit, here seen in his lecture to The Royal Society in February 2019. He had been awarded the 2018 Francis Crick Medal in recognition of his work at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. This is also a neat demonstration of the strength of the UK (to be specific, Scotland’s) contribution to research in Parkinson’s.
The Not bohemian, just ‘Rapsodi’ study is looking at people with the GBA gene risk factor and who also demonstrate the early signs of Parkinson’s. The GBA gene was the topic for Dr. Stephen Mullin’s inaugural talk for the PenPRiG Meet The Researcher programme.
The LRRK2 (“Lark two”) gene is another villian of the piece. The Michael J Fox Foundation brought together otherwise competing companies to demonstrate that drugs that (in essence) switched off this faulty gene were safe for human use. They are part-funding the Denali Phase 1b clincal trial.