Baroness Gale and Baroness Masham with David Dexter and research volunteers David and Andrew Cassy

Parkinson's research volunteers share their experience in Parliament


Volunteers Andrew and Dave Cassy shared their experience of supporting Parkinson's research at the latest meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Parkinson's.

Andrew, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2010 at the age of 44, has found that taking part in research has made him feel more in control over his condition. Since a visit to the Parkinson's UK brain bank inspired him to get involved, Andrew has taken part in over 20 research studies.

Dave, Andrew's father, has been helping to recruit more people into research trials and speaks to people in his community to raise awareness of the condition. Both also give their time to improve future research projects via Public and Patient Involvement Groups.

Andrew said: "Research has helped me to come to terms and fight back against my condition. 

"We can all play a role in research, even if you don't have Parkinson's, there are a range of activities you can do, from paper-based surveys, to donating your brain to research."

The vital role of charities in medical research

MPs and peers also heard from the Deputy Director of Research at Parkinson's UK, Professor David Dexter, about the role of charities in medical research and how Artificial Intelligence is helping to find new treatments, faster.

Medical research charities in the UK contribute over £1.6billion in research funding and play a crucial role in encouraging investment in areas of research that could provide the biggest benefits for patients.

David said: "In the last 30 years we've really come a long way in understanding Parkinson's. We've done the hard work, filling in the edges of the jigsaw and now it's the exciting point where we can start filling in the middle and discovering transformative new treatments."

To help make this a reality, Parkinson's UK has developed the Virtual Biotech that invests in areas of research traditionally reserved for big pharmaceutical companies.

By targeting funding to promising new areas of research, Parkinson's UK helps to de-risk these ventures for others and encourage greater investment in drug discovery.

David also shared how Parkinson's UK's partnership with Benevolent AI means we can analyse results from millions of research publications globally to see whether we might already be sitting on a cure for the condition. Watch this video to learn more about this work.

Take part in research

If you would like to get more involved in research, take a look at the range of opportunities on our research pages.