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New research uncovers potential to delay Parkinson’s disease progression


25th January, 2017

Media release

Embargoed until 6am, 26th January 2017 (AEDT)


New research uncovers potential to delay Parkinson’s disease progression

Research published today in international scientific journal PLOS ONE has revealed that the activin A molecule may hold the answer to slowing the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

The research project was funded by a Parkinson’s NSW seed grant and was led by researchers Dr Sandy Stayte and Professor Bryce Vissel from UTS in collaboration with Dr Kong Li from the University of Sydney.

Using an MPTP mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, the researchers found that when mice received an infusion of activin A directly into the brain, they had much higher numbers of surviving cells in the region of the brain that is damaged in Parkinson’s.

The findings of the research show the first evidence that the ability of activin A to increase survival of dopamine cells may be due to its anti-inflammatory effects.  This research gives people with Parkinson’s hope that new treatments may eventually be created to delay Parkinson’s disease progression.

Jo-Anne Reeves, CEO of Parkinson’s NSW said “Parkinson’s NSW are committed to supporting local researchers find new treatments and ultimately a cure for this devastating disease through our annual seed grant program.  We congratulate Professor Vissel and Dr Stayte on their contribution to advancing Parkinson’s research.”

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.

Media enquiries:
Clare Audet
Parkinson’s NSW
0431 200 435