Diving into our DNA
We know that changes in our DNA happen as we get older. This is caused partly by our environment and lifestyle, but also our genetics.
Understanding our genes is leading to revolutionary treatments for other conditions. But we still don’t know why people with certain genes and environments develop Parkinson’s and others do not.
This is what Professor Williams is hoping to solve through his latest research.
The link between Parkinson’s and our genes
Despite knowing there is a link between the development of Parkinson’s and variations in our genes, there’ve been few studies.
By studying the brain tissue from 50 brains donated to the Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank, Professor Williams aims to find out if subtle variations in our DNA can influence changes in a protein called histones. Resulting in a higher chance of developing Parkinson’s.
Professor Williams will use ChIP sequencing technology, to identify histone modifications in areas of the brain affected by Parkinson’s, compared to areas that are not affected.
This is very exciting as there are already drugs being developed to target histone modifications for other conditions. Once we understand what exactly is modifying the histones we can see if these drugs can be repurposed for people with Parkinson’s. Potentially slowing down or preventing Parkinson’s.
"Only by looking at the development of Parkinson’s at a molecular level, will we ever truly understand the condition and therefore how to cure it for good"