We're investing up to £3m in drugs that could slow the progression of Parkinson’s

We’re investing in research into inflammation that could help develop drugs that slow the progression of Parkinson’s, something no current medication can do.

Inflammation is vital for defending the body against harm from things like infections, injuries and toxins. However, constant inflammation can be damaging to existing cells.

In Parkinson’s, there’s excessive chronic inflammation within the brain. Scientists now believe this may play a role in the damage to brain cells which occurs in the condition. 

Now the search is on to urgently find therapies targeting inflammation which could have the potential to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s and deliver better treatments. 

Creating new drugs for Parkinson’s

Initial work carried out in 2020 discovered a new family of molecules which target a protein found on the surface of microglia, the main immune cells in the brain that become overactive in Parkinson’s. 

Parkinson’s UK will be providing up to £3m over the next 2.5 years through its innovative Virtual Biotech programmes to drive forward the development of these molecules.

This will involve painstakingly refining the current molecules and testing them in lab grown human cells and mice. 

By the end of the project Parkinson’s UK aims to have discovered molecules that can get into the brain and stop harmful inflammation. We hope these molecules will be taken forward into further testing and ultimately clinical trials. 

Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK said:

"Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and currently there is no cure. Current therapies only help to manage symptoms so there is an urgent important need for new and better treatments that can slow the devastating progression of the condition.

"If we can create a treatment that stops the harmful, runaway inflammation in the brain in Parkinson’s it could be the breakthrough the Parkinson’s community have been waiting for."

Dialling down inflammation to protect brain cells

We explore what we know about inflammation in Parkinson’s and why creating molecules that can stop harmful inflammation could provide a vital new treatment for the condition in our latest blog.