A WIRRAL hospital is part of a world first in a charity’s bid to find a cure for Parkinson’s.
Researchers at Wirral University Teaching Hospital are involved in the biggest in-depth study tracking people with the neurological condition ever mounted in the world.
Parkinson’s UK is investing more than £1.6m into the research programme which hopes to unlock secrets about the debilitating disease and boost the chances of finding a cure.
The project is being led by Dr Donald Grosset at the University of Glasgow, but the project will eventually link with 30-40 centres around the UK, including Wirral University Teaching Hospital which is said to be one of the “key centres” taking part.
Research in Wirral is being led by Dr Mary O’Neill, movement disorders consultant.
She said: “Finding a cure for Parkinson’s is what every researcher in the field dreams about.
“Tracking Parkinson’s is a major new research project and we are very excited to be involved right at the beginning.
“This study really offers hope for the future for people with Parkinson’s and we need around 40 people in Wirral and the North West to volunteer to help us make our vision of a cure a reality.”
Parkinson’s UK chose the opening day of Parkinson’s Awareness Week to announce their research project and put out an urgent call for 3,000 volunteers – both recently-diagnosed people with Parkinson’s (in the last three years), those aged under the age of 50 at diagnosis, and their brothers and sisters – to take part in its ground-breaking “Tracking Parkinson’s” clinical study.
Tracking Parkinson’s primary aim is to identify elusive biomarkers for Parkinson’s (signpost indicators in the blood, for example) that could help develop simple tests, like blood tests, for use as diagnostic tools.
Despite the best efforts of researchers worldwide no biomarkers have yet been identified for Parkinson’s.
An early diagnosis is crucial if doctors are to be able to prescribe the right drugs for people with Parkinson’s to control – and one day, hopefully, even cure – their condition.
The responses of people with Parkinson’s to treatments for distressing symptoms like tremors, movement problems, anxiety, memory lapses and digestion problems will be closely monitored for up to five years.
Dr Kieran Breen, director of research and innovation at Parkinson’s UK said: “Studies like ‘Tracking Parkinson’s’ could make a huge difference and help us to ultimately find a cure.”
Call 0808 800 0303, or visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/tracking to find out more.