World Parkinson’s Day

A doctor speaking to a patient and relative

April 2021: For World Parkinson’s Day (11 April) find out what’s happening in Parkinson’s research at the Anne Rowling Clinic.

Parkinson’s is a progressive brain disorder, affecting 12,000 people in Scotland and around 150,000 people in the UK. According to the charity Parkinson’s UK, 1 in 37 people alive today in the UK will be diagnosed with Parkinson's in their lifetime. It most often occurs in the over 60s.

It is an incurable condition that is characterised by both movement problems (including slowness, rigidity and tremor) and non-movement problems (including cognitive issues in some patients).

Our research

There is an unmet need for treatments to address the ‘invisible’ symptoms of Parkinson’s that affect people’s quality of life. People with Parkinson’s also need access to new treatments that will slow, stop and ultimately reverse the condition.

At the Anne Rowling Clinic, our research seeks to understand more about the causes of Parkinson’s and identify new treatments.

Recent studies at the clinic include:

  • ROPAD – a global observational study exploring the role of genetics in Parkinson's.
  • PD COMM – a study to evaluate the effectiveness of speech and language therapy for people with Parkinson’s-related voice problems.
  • STARTUP – a study to assess whether electrical stimulation applied to the lower leg (tibial nerve) relieves Parkinson’s-related bladder problems.
  • Regenerative Tissue Bank – People with Parkinson’s donate a one-off, anonymous blood, saliva or spinal fluid sample to be used in future research studies.

Dundee and Edinburgh Parkinson’s Research Initiative

The Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh have joined forces to help accelerate access to clinical trials for people with Parkinson's.

A key aspect of this initiative is to invite everyone with Parkinson’s in South East Scotland to join an innovative research database. This activity will capture a wealth of information including demographics, lifestyle, environment, disease symptoms and medications.

Working with collaborators in the UK and across the world, this resource will help to identify the factors that influence Parkinson’s progression. Crucially, it will enable tailored recruitment of individuals to research studies and clinical trials that are most suitable for them.

We will also be conducting research projects together to investigate the use of new diagnostic biomarkers in Parkinson’s.

Upcoming studies and partnerships

We will soon begin recruiting to three phase 3 clinical trials for Parkinson’s – Exenetide-PD3 (Exenatide as a potential disease-modifying therapy), ADePT-PD (Escitalopram and Nortriptyline for depression) and CHIEF-PD (Rivastigmine for falls).

We have been successful in obtaining funding to assess the disease-modifying potential of a probiotic (Bacillus subtilis) in Parkinson’s. We will begin a two-site randomised controlled trial in Edinburgh and Stavanger, Norway in 2022.

We are delighted to be working with colleagues at University College London as part of the PD-FRONTLINE study This study will undertake genetic testing for two of the commonest Parkinson’s genes (GBA and LRRK2) with a view to identifying candidates for gene-specific clinical trials in the future.

We will be participating in the LRRK2 International Parkinson’s Disease (LIPAD) study which will involve detailed characterisation of LRRK2 and other forms of Parkinson’s.

There have been major advances in our understanding of Parkinson’s and the years ahead will be an exciting time in Parkinson’s research.


About Parkinson’s

Anne Rowling Clinic Parkinson's Research Studies 

PD Frontline

This article was published on: Friday, April 09, 2021