Support Groundbreaking Research

Parkinson’s didn’t stop for coronavirus, and neither have we. We're restarting and rapidly adapting our pioneering research to develop new treatments. But we can't do it without you. 

A new treatment that works at night?

That’s what our researchers are currently investigating. We know that a build-up of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain is believed to play a major role in damaging brain cells in Parkinson’s 

But what if it was possible for toxic alpha-synuclein to be washed away at night? Lab tests have already shown that toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer’s can be cleared away by boosting a system in the brain called the glymphatic system. 

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So now, Dr Ian Harrison and his team at University College London want to find out if the same results could be replicated for people with Parkinson’s.

Watch the video below to find out more.

How did lockdown affect research? 

The impact of the lockdown that began in March meant that Dr Harrison’s work had to be paused. But the team spent this time redesigning their project so that they could run multiple experiments at once, and hit the ground running as soon as it was safe to do so.

Parkinson’s didn’t stop for coronavirus, and neither have we. People with Parkinson’s saw symptoms worsening under lockdown, so people need Parkinson’s UK more than ever before. This is why the need for better treatments and a cure remains a top priority. 

What will the team look at next?

When Parkinson's develops, alpha-synuclein forms sticky clumps in the brain known as Lewy Bodies. These sticky clumps spread through the brain stopping it from functioning fully. This can lead to Parkinson's symptoms like  freezing, falling and shaking.

In this promising new project, Dr Harrison and his team want to find the best way to boost the glymphatic system to stop the build-up of alpha-synuclein, and in turn prevent Lewy Bodies forming. 

To do this they will test 4 different methods: 

  • A drug like molecule
  • A small amount of alcohol
  • A sugary molecule
  • Exercise 

The key will be to identify which method is most effective and then find out at what levels they need to be given at. 

If this research did lead to a new treatment that could stop the progression of Parkinson’s, this would be truly groundbreaking for people affected by Parkinson's. 

Will you donate today to help fund this research?

Sleep and Parkinson's

Insomnia and other sleep issues  are one of the side effects of Parkinson's. If you or anyone you know would welcome some further information or support, you can read or download our guide here. 

Sleep and Parkinson's

If at anytime you'd like to speak to someone, our free and confidential helpline are here to help.

Helpline (0808 800 0303)