We have identified a series of novel compounds which protect against neurodegeneration in model systems, and thus respresent an exciting new approach to the treatment of conditions such as Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's is a disease of the elderly and is more prevalent in the Western world; consequently with our ageing society, Scotland is particuarly hard hit both socially and economically by the disease. As a progressive disorder, the patient may require care for many years, either from relatives, who frequently need to give up work to provide the necessary care, or at great cost within the NHS. Existing therapies for Parkinson's disease have a palliative effect only; by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain, they mask the effects of the death of dopamine-producing neurones that is one of the consequences of the disease.
We have discovered the importance of a particular signalling cascade in the neurodegenerative process and have developed a series of compounds able to block this cascade and actually prevent the loss of dopaminergic neurones and increase levels of dopamine. These compounds thus have the potential to actually halt the process of neurological damage and give stability to patients rather than simply masking disease progression.
Project Team: Dr Peter Teismann and Dr Iain Greig
Funding: Parkinson's Disease Society