Little-known gene may play a key role in the development of Parkinson’s

I Psc Neurons In Culture

In an exciting new project, Dr Kathryn Bowles (UK DRI at Edinburgh) will investigate the workings of a little-known gene which may play a role in the development of Parkinson’s. This work could deliver new targets for Parkinson’s treatments.

Previous research has found that people with higher levels of the LRRC37A2 gene are less likely to develop Parkinson's. The gene is thought to help protect the brain, and having less of it could be a risk factor for Parkinson’s.

Dr Bowles and her team will investigate what LRRC37A2 does and how having more of this gene in the brain could prevent people from developing Parkinson’s.

If we can confirm this gene is protective and understand why, that will open up new avenues for therapy. We can then say, these are the mechanisms we need to target, this is how we can change the expression of this gene, and that is a pathway to therapy. It’s quite far away, but it’s a new avenue to go down. Dr Kat Bowles, Group Leader at the UK DRI at Edinburgh

The project is being funded by Parkinson’s UK, alongside another project led by Prof Tilo Kunth at the University of Edinburgh, aiming to develop an accurate cellular model of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s UK has committed close to £400,000 to the two projects.

James Jopling, Scotland Director for Parkinson’s UK, said:

“We are dedicated to funding research which will bring us new understanding and new treatments for Parkinson’s, faster. It’s fantastic to see new charitable investment in two cutting-edge research projects right here in Scotland. Both are tackling research questions that will bring us closer to understanding what’s happening in people with Parkinson's and will tell us more about how we could develop new treatments for the condition.”

To find out more about Dr Kat Bowles' work, visit her UK DRI profile. To keep up to date with the latest UK DRI news and events, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.

Article published: 16 October 2023
Banner image credit: Dr Kat Bowles