Uniting for Parkinson’s – how Parkinson’s UK and drug development companies are coming together to accelerate better treatments

All over the world, today (April 11th) is being recognised as World Parkinson’s Day. Here, Steve Ford, CEO of Parkinson’s UK, BIA’s Charity of the Year for 2018, explains how researchers are investigating new potential treatments for the disease and how initiatives from Parkinson’s UK are supporting and speeding up this process.

Steve Ford, CEO of Parkinson's UK

Parkinson’s is one of the most common neurological conditions in the UK, and the number of people affected by it is increasing. Current figures show that around 145,000 people in the UK alone are living with the condition, and diagnoses are predicted to rise across the population by as much as a fifth by 2025. As the number of people with Parkinson’s grows, so does the urgent need for better treatments.

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition that leads to the unexplained loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Well-known symptoms include slowness of movement, rigidity and a tremor, but people with Parkinson's also experience non-motor symptoms, such as tiredness, pain and depression. This broad range of symptoms, which worsen over time, can have a devastating impact on a person’s day-to-day life as more areas of the brain become affected.

Despite it being 200 years since the discovery of Parkinson’s, there is still no cure and current treatments available are only able to temporarily ease symptoms rather than stop or slow the condition progressing.

After decades of research, we are only now beginning to understand the characteristics of different subtypes of the condition, their underlying pathogenesis, and possible avenues for new treatments. But, without investment, progress towards a condition-modifying treatment for Parkinson's has slowed – leading to a bottleneck in the drug development pathway and fewer promising new treatments making it through to clinical trials.

Now – on World Parkinson’s Day – we are asking for drug development companies to join our call and Unite for Parkinson’s in an effort to shake-up the drug development process.

How we can work together

The Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech

The Parkinson's Virtual Biotech is the drug discovery and development arm of Parkinson’s UK.

We invest in projects and companies that are driving towards new treatments with the potential to transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s, by selecting and supporting projects at the drug discovery, preclinical and early clinical development stages.

Our virtual approach means we work flexibly and creatively with pharmaceutical companies and biotechs worldwide to develop and commercialise new treatments.

We are building a portfolio of projects that can attract further investment, and we’ll look to partner with companies to take successful projects into the later stages of drug development and trials.

Clinical Trials

We can help deliver better, faster and more efficient clinical trials for Parkinson’s.

For new Parkinson’s treatments to become a reality in years rather than decades, we must improve the way we plan and deliver clinical trials.

80% of people with Parkinson’s are keen to take part in research, but only 24% have. We’ve launched a new trials platform to connect potential participants to the right trial for them. In 2017 alone, we helped 60 research studies and trials to find participants to time and target, and we can help you do the same.

In the longer term, we need to make trials faster, smarter and more likely to succeed. The Critical Path for Parkinson's is an international collaboration, funded and led by Parkinson’s UK. This brings together companies, regulatory agencies, universities and charities to create new tools and strategies to improve clinical trials for Parkinson's, and we welcome more members to join this crucial initiative.

Engage With Patients

Work in partnership with people with Parkinson’s and their families to ensure research is shaped and driven by those who need it most.

To develop truly transformational new treatments, we must listen to and involve patients at every stage of the research process.

As the world’s largest patient-led Parkinson’s charity, everything we do is driven and shaped by our community and we are experts in bringing researchers and people with the condition together.

We advise companies on the best strategies for involving people in research development programmes and through our unique patient network we can help you find the right individuals to help you achieve meaningful outcomes.

To find out more about how we can work together to accelerate Parkinson’s research and treatment, contact our research team at research@parkinsons.org.uk



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