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Ireland to lead on €7 million Parkinson’s research project

Research led by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has been awarded €7m to investigate new treatments for Parkinson’s over three years.

The grant from the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) will help researchersincrease their understanding of how the mitochondria of cells in the brain become damaged in Parkinson’s.

There is growing evidence of the role that malfunctioning mitochondria play in Parkinson’s.

The researchers will focus on parts of the cell, known as mitochondria, that malfunction in people with Parkinson’s. Mitochondria contribute to cell death and neurodegeneration and there is growing evidence of their role in Parkinson’s, but no effective treatments have been developed based on this knowledge.

The EU public-private partnership funding health research and innovation chose the project as it recognises that new, more effective treatments are urgently needed. The most common drug to treat Parkinson’s used in Ireland is more than 50 years old, and no current treatment can stop, slow or reverse the condition.

The project’s coordinator Professor Jochen Prehn said: “This project will join forces with top scientists in academia and industry to bring a fresh look on how we identify and test novel drugs for the treatment of this devastating movement disorder.”

The project involves 14 partners from nine countries, including:

  • academic experts from: RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland); Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Epinière;German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE); Neuroscience Institute of the National Research Council; University College London; Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre; the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
  • SMEs: GeneXplain GmbH; Mimetas B.V.; Pintail Limited
  • pharmaceutical companies from the EFPIA members: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.;H. Lundbeck A/S and UCB S.A.
  • patient advocacy organisation: Parkinson’s UK