When will there be a cure for Parkinson's?
Our mission is to find a cure and bring forward the day when no one fears Parkinson's. But what does this look like and how close are we?
How can we cure Parkinson's?
What are the most promising potential treatments for Parkinson's?
In this short video, Professor Peter Jenner at Kings College London gives a unique overview of the science that offers potential for a cure.
What does a cure for Parkinson's look like?
We believe that a cure would mean that people could live entirely free from the condition.
But because Parkinson's varies so much from person to person, there may not be a single 'cure'.
Instead we may need a range of different therapies that can be used in combination to meet the needs of the individual and their specific form of the condition.
This mix may include treatments, therapies and strategies that mean we can:
- slow or stop the progression of the condition
- replace or repair lost or damaged brain cells
- control and manage particular symptoms
- diagnose Parkinson's at the earliest possible stage
And this could involve both medical treatments such as drugs and surgical approaches, coupled with lifestyle changes, for example to diet and exercise.
How close are we?
Our mission as a charity is to develop better treatments and a cure for Parkinson's in the shortest possible time frame.
In the past 50 years we've made vital discoveries that have revolutionised our understanding of Parkinson's and the brain.
We have a better understanding of the influence of genetic factors. We are beginning to map the complex chain of events that leads to the damage and loss of precious brain cells. We know that, although people with Parkinson's share symptoms, each person's experience of the condition and response to treatment is different.
Armed with this hard-won knowledge, we now believe the science is ready for us to develop the new treatments and cure that people with Parkinson's so desperately need.
How long this will take depends upon funding. The more we are able to invest in developing these new and better treatments, the faster we'll get there.
Given the right investment, we believe improved treatments are possible in years rather decades.
What new treatments are being developed?
Now, thanks to this progress, new treatments are being tested in clinical trials that have the potential to slow, stop or even reverse Parkinson’s.
- Stem cell therapies which aim to use healthy, living cells to replace or repair the damage in the brains of people with Parkinson's.
- Repurposed drugs that are already approved to treat other conditions - including diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure - are being investigated to understand their potential benefits for Parkinson's.
- Gene therapies which use the power of genetics to reprogramme cells and change their behaviour to help them stay healthy and work better for longer.
- Growth factors, naturally occurring molecules (like GDNF) that support the growth, development and survival of brain cells.
How we're accelerating the search for a cure
We believe that new and better treatments are possible in years, rather than decades, and we have a clear strategy for making this happen. This includes:
- backing the best and brightest minds to unlock scientific discoveries that will lead to new treatments, and one day a cure
- accelerating the development and testing of new treatments through our Virtual Biotech
- collaborating internationally to make clinical trials faster, cheaper and more likely to succeed through the Critical Path for Parkinson's
- tracking down drugs for other conditions which have untapped potential for Parkinson's
We know that the more we're able to invest, the faster we'll be able to deliver, so we're working hard to raise the funds we need to drive things forward faster.
How can you help?
Research can't happen without your support, and there are many ways you can get involved in research and help us find a cure for Parkinson's.
- By taking part in research, people like you make progress in clinical research possible.
- Though volunteering opportunities, you can help shape research to make it more meaningful and relevant.
- With your donations, we can continue to fund pioneering research projects and initiatives to deliver new and better treatments in years not decades.
Our Research Support Network connects you to all the latest research news and opportunities to take part and get involved in research. Everyone is welcome, from researchers to people with Parkinson's - all you need is an email address to get started.
Driving research forwards
We are proud to have supported a groundbreaking clinical trial led by Dr Alan Whone to test whether an experimental treatment called GDNF can slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s - something no current treatment can do.
Watch our short film to find out more about GDNF.