What is the research looking to achieve?
The brain holds many mysteries. Brain cells communicate via electrical signals which must work effectively for us to speak, move and think. And toxic waste products are removed from the brain using the recycling system in cells.
Dr Beccano-Kelly is an expert in the field of Parkinson's research, a UK Future Leader Fellow and UK Dementia Research Institute Group Leader. He and his team is are looking at how and why these 2 systems are affected in Parkinson's by listening in to the cells as they communicate. If he, and his team at Cardiff University, can solve this mystery it opens up new avenues for treatments to slow or stop Parkinson's.
Watch the video to find our more about Dr Beccano-Kelly's research
What will happen in the project?
The team will take a small amount of skin cells and turn them into stem cells, which can turn into any cell they need. In this case, they are turned into brain cells.
Coloured lights are used to get these brain cells talking to each other. The team will then eavesdrop on the cells, listening to the changes in the way the cells communicate using a piece of specialist equipment called a 'rig'. They will then see how these changes in communication affect the brain cells's recycling abilities.
To track the changes in the recycling system, the team count the number of proteins, known as 'workers' cleaning the cells and where they are. We will compare the healthy cells against cells from people with Parkinson's and record the differences.
The aim is to better understand the roles of these proteins and what they are doing at the point the communication breaks down.
Using these new insights, they will piece together the mystery of how and when cell communication impact each other. Knowing the best time we could intervene could help find new ways to stop Parkinson's in its tracks.
Will you donate to Dr Beccano-Kelly's research?
£55 could pay for 500ml of neurobasal medium, vital for turning stem cells into brain cells.
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How could this lead to new treatments?
Understanding the relationship between these 2 key processes within the brain can help unlock new treatments that could slow down, or even stop, the progression of Parkinson's. Not only would new drug treatments be possible but we'd know when the best time to apply them would be.
Will you give a gift today? We know times are tough but any donation you can spare will fund Dr Beccano-Kelly's promising research to find a new treatment for Parkinson's.