With the UK’s prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) expected to almost double by 2065, the need for breakthroughs in disease-modifying treatments, as with other neurodegenerative disorders, is imperative. On 29 October UK DRI convened over 40 PD experts to London for an interactive workshop, co-hosted with Parkinson’s UK, in order to examine the latest developments and identify initiatives that could transform the field.
Several high-profile researchers presented the newest findings from their labs including further investigation into pathways involving LRRK2 (Dario Alessi) and PINK1 (Miratul Muqit), effects of a-synuclein oligomers in patient-derived iPSCs (Sonia Gandhi) and strategies to uncover reasons for dopaminergic neuron vulnerability in the disease (Stephanie Cragg).
In the afternoon Mina Ryten and Caleb Webber delved into insights from genetic risk analysis and Tom Stoker gave an update on trials using cell-based therapies. A particular highlight came from Michele Hu who described patients with REM Sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), many of whom convert to PD and offer an interesting cohort for therapeutic trials. Attendees agreed that integrating patient studies would aid understanding of disease progress and mechanisms behind resilience.
Short flash presentations touched on new animal models, further understanding from drug screening in iPSC lines and influence from the immune system.