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Research funded by Parkinson’s NSW uncovers potential new therapy for slowing cell death

Research funded by Parkinson’s NSW uncovers potential new therapeutic approach for slowing neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s disease

Research funded by a grant from Parkinson’s NSW, led by Dr Bryce Vissel and Dr Sandy Stayte at Garvan Institute in Sydney, Australia, has discovered a potential new therapeutic approach with promise for slowing dopamine neuron cell death in Parkinson’s disease.  The results of this groundbreaking research project have been published today in international peer reviewed scientific journal, PLOS ONE and may have implications for ultimately treating the condition.

This research project undertaken by Drs Vissel and Stayte investigated the potential of a molecule called activin A to protect against dopamine cell death in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease.  Activin A is classified as a growth factor, a class of molecules in the brain that have been shown to be important in the development and survival of cells that die in Parkinson’s. The study demonstrated that mice receiving an infusion of activin A directly into the brain had much higher numbers of surviving cells in the region of the brain that is damaged in Parkinson’s disease. Interestingly, the team have also previously shown that activin A can stimulate brain regeneration, suggesting that activin A may have a number of beneficial effects in the brain.

“We believe our work reveals a very attractive target that may prevent dopamine cell death and thus possibly slow disease progression” said Dr Vissel.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition which affects the brain’s ability to control movement and may also be associated with other symptoms including mood, depression and anxiety. The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease develop when approximately 70% of dopamine cells are damaged. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is necessary for smooth, purposeful movement and the loss of cells that produce this neurotransmitter cause the classic signs of Parkinson’s; tremors, rigidity, and trouble walking and moving.

In Australia, every hour of every day someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  There are 80,000 people with Parkinson’s in Australia across all age groups. Whilst the majority of people affected are over 60 at the time of diagnosis, 20% are of working age and 10% are under the age of 40. There is no known cause or cure.

Miriam Dixon, CEO of Parkinson’s NSW said “Parkinson’s NSW are committed to helping people living with Parkinson’s disease by providing critical services  and through providing grants to help leading local researchers  contribute to worldwide efforts to cure this condition.  It is fantastic to see a research project funded by a Parkinson’s NSW grant produce an outcome that is directed to this goal.”

 


Getting closer to a cure –grants awarded for research into Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s NSW has awarded $288,000 for research into Parkinson’s disease.

Leading Australian researchers have received grant funding for 7 projects that,  if successfully developed will aid in finding a cure for Parkinson’s and help those living with the disease improve their quality of life.  The 7 projects chosen by the Parkinson’s NSW independent judging panel cover the most innovative research in biological/non-clinical and clinical/psychosocial research.    The highly competitive grants cover areas such as; new drug treatments, non-drug treatments, familial Parkinson’s, uptake and adherence to exercise programs and new treatments for hallucinations.

Parkinson’s NSW has awarded over $1 million in research grants over the past 8 years to help find a cure for Parkinson’s.  These grants have been made possible by the fundraising and events program by Parkinson’s NSW and sponsorship by Bendigo Bank.

The grant recipients include:

Dr Bryce Vissell, Garvan Institute, University of New South Wales
Associate Professor Kay Double, University of Sydney
Associate Professor Colleen Canning, University of Sydney
Dr James Macquarie Shine, Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney
Dr Dan Johnstone, University of Sydney
Dr Jin Sung- Park, Kolling Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney
Dr Nicolas Dzamko, Neuroscience Research Australia, University of New South Wales

Miriam Dixon, Parkinson’s NSW CEO said “the awarding of these research grants plays a crucial role in helping to support innovative research to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s and finding a cure for Parkinson’s”.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition which affects the brain’s ability to control movement and may also be associated with other symptoms including mood, depression and anxiety. In Australia, every hour of every day someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  There are 25,000 people with Parkinson’s in NSW across all age groups. Whilst the majority of people affected are over 60 at the time of diagnosis, 20% are of working age and 10% are under the age of 40. There is no known cause or cure.

MEDIA INFO: Clare Audet, Marketing Director, Parkinson’s NSW  (02) 8875 8913 / 0431 200 435 / clareaudet@parkinsonsnsw.org.au

About Parkinson’s NSW

Parkinson’s NSW funds research for people living with Parkinson’s disease and is the only organisation in NSW providing free support services including a free InfoLine which is staffed by health professionals, counselling and support groups to people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers.


1600km ride to raise money for Dad with Parkinson’s Disease

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10th APRIL 2015

Balmain local, 31 year old Sarah Hetherington will be riding an epic 1600kms from Sydney to Melbourne return this Saturday 11th April (World Parkinson’s Day) on her motorbike to raise funds for research into Parkinson’s disease. Sarah’s father David has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Sarah is seeking to drive awareness of this disease and raise much needed funds for Parkinson’s NSW.

Sarah is aiming to complete this epic endurance ride within 24 hours and will only be stopping for short breaks along the way in Yass (NSW), Wodonga (NSW) and Whallan (VIC).

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition which affects the brain’s ability to control movement and may also be associated with other symptoms including mood, depression and anxiety. There is no cure.

In Australia, every hour of every day someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s. There are 80,000 people with Parkinson’s across all age groups. Whilst the majority of people affected are over 60 at the time of diagnosis, 20% are of working age and 10% are under the age of 40.

Parkinson’s NSW receives almost no government funding, with less than $1 per person received in funding. Parkinson’s disease has an $8.3 billion annual impact on the Australian economy and an individual cost of $165,000 per patient from diagnosis through to their remaining life span (an average of 12 years).

MEDIA INFO: Clare Audet, Marketing Director, Parkinson’s NSW (02) 8875 8913 / 0431 200 435 / clareaudet@parkinsonsnsw.org.au

About Parkinson’s NSW

Parkinson’s NSW funds research for people living with Parkinson’s disease and is the only organisation in NSW providing free support services including a free InfoLine which is staffed by health professionals, counselling and support groups to people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers.


Aussies invent gizmo for Parkinson’s falls

AUSTRALIAN scientists have invented a device that warns people with Parkinson’s disease when they are in danger of a bone-breaking fall.


Gene therapy gives new hope for Parkinson’s sufferers

A revolutionary new treatment is giving hope to tens of thousands of Australians affected by Parkinson’s disease. For the first time, the use of gene therapy has been found to improve some of the crippling symptoms.


Young with Parkinson’s ‘not given support’

THOUSANDS of younger Australians are living with Parkinson’s disease, but neither employers nor the government have given them the recognition they deserve, according to a research report.


Parkinson’s disease patients concerned about their fate

Parkinson’s disease patients fear they will be forced into hospitals or nursing homes, after a shortage of money to keep a specialist travelling nurse available to look after them..


Attention! Stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease unproven

Parkinson’s NSW has recently become aware that some NSW PwP have expressed interest in seeking stem cell-based treatments for their PD, or for specific symptoms related to their PD, from overseas-based “clinics”. The lack of rigorous scientific trials on any offered stem cell treatments for PD anywhere around the world has been discussed previously in SBM and on the PNSW website.

Intense research activity is underway to investigate the potential of stem cells for novel treatments for PD but to date there have been no medical trials in humans to test if stem cells can effectively treat PD. Thus any clinics in any country offering such treatments are doing so in the absence of any scientific proof that the treatment might work. Even more worryingly, without proper medical trials it is not possible to be confident that a treatment will be safe. Parkinson’s NSW strongly advise their members, and all PwP, not to undergo any stem cell treatments for PD until these are shown to be safe and effective.

Assoc Prof Kay Double and Dr Simon Lewis


Researcher recognised in NHMRC grants

SimonLewis_100x135Dr Simon Lewis, Director of the Parkinson’s Research Clinic at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI), and a Consulting Neurologist at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, will receive $430,000 over five years for his research into Parkinson’s disease.

He has published extensively on the disease, particularly addressing symptoms that impact on the quality of life of sufferers. In addition to his research, he also sits on the council of Parkinson’s NSW and is now heading the first trial to evaluate community-based Parkinson’s nurse specialists in Australia.


Virtual reality assists in Parkinson’s discovery

Doctors in Sydney have used computer technology to link brain processes and physical movement in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.


World-first virtual reality study to trial new Parkinson’s treatment

In a world-first study, researchers at the Brain and Mind Research Institute (BMRI) at the University of Sydney may have found a new way to help the Parkinson’s disease patients who experience walking problems.


Access Economics Report

“Challenges and Positive Steps for the Future”

Report by Access Economics Pty Limited for Parkinson’s Australia


Brain Freeze: Inside the minds of Parkinson’s sufferers

Sydney scientists have come up with an innovative way of seeing what happens in the brain when Parkinson’s sufferers experience a freeze of gait. Story from ABC TV’s Catalyst program (05/08/2010)


Parkinson’s Vote in 2010 Election

People with Parkinson’s disease, their families and friends are calling for the next Federal government to support a national strategy tackling the burden of Parkinson’s disease. “The Parkinson’s vote could make or break the forth coming election for a number of close electorates”.


2010 Federal Policy Initiatives


Electric Probes Helping Patients

From Television segment about DBS (Direct Brain Stimulation) on 7 network’s Today Tonight program.


A Parkinson’s ‘miracle’ for Strop

Newspaper article about TV personality John Cornell’s recent DBS surgery.


Goodbye CAAS… Hello CAPS!

From 1 July 2010, the federal Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) will replace the existing Continence Aids Assistance Scheme (CAAS). Under the new scheme, eligible clients will receive an annual cash payment of up to $489.95 (plus indexation) instead of actual goods.


SINEMET CR Unavailable

Merck Sharp & Dohme (manufacturer of Sinemet CR) have advised all medical specialists and GPs that Sinemet CR is now OUT OF STOCK due to manufacturing difficulties. This situation will continue into 2011

* Please note that other types of Sinemet are not affected (only Sinemet CR).

People affected should see their specialist or GP for further advice.


Radio 2GB Interview

“Parkinson’s Disease – What you need to know”. Andrew Moore talks to Dr Simon Lewis, Neurologist and Director of the Parkinson’s Disease Research Clinic.


Medical Energy Rebate

From 1 January 2010, the NSW Government has introduced a Medical Energy Rebate for eligible customers who have an inability to self-regulate body temperature when exposed to extremes (hot or cold) of environmental temperatures. It may be associated with certain medical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.


DASH (Depression-Anxiety-Sleep-Hallucinations)

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Parkinsons was recently in the news on the TEN Television network. For those that
missed the stories, click links to view them.

  1. Parkinson’s InfoLine
  2. Help for Parkinson’s Sufferers

*NB: Both stories are preceeded by 15sec and 30sec adverts respectively. (Patience required)


Molecule offers hope for Parkinson’s treatment

Australian scientists have identified a molecule which controls inflammation in the brain, offering hope of a future treatment for conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.


New strength STALEVO

From 1st December 2008, a new strength of Stalevo 200/50/200 mg (levodopa 200 mg / carbidopa 50 mg / entacapone 200 mg) is available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) providing physicians with more dosing options and flexibility for their patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) who experience end-of-dose motor fluctuations.

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