PD Research Clinic

Our Parkinson’s Research Clinic run every Thursday at the Brain Repair Centre. Visits generally last for around 1 .5 to 2 hours, and involve a session with a neurologist and a session with a neuropsychologist, as well as a blood test. The main aim of the clinic is to collect information about the problems associated with the disease in large numbers of individuals, to help us better describe the clinical variability in the condition. Blood samples are collected for DNA extraction so that we can investigate genetic factors associated with particular disease characteristics. We also store anonymised blood samples to use in studies investigating metabolic and immune markers and their relationship with the disease.

PICNICS

The PICNICS study is an observational study which is tracking the progression of patients with Parkinson’s disease over several years so that we can better understand how the disease behaves over time, and establish whether there are subtypes of Parkinson’s disease which evolve differently. It is important for us to understand these differences between subtypes and what drives them so that we can develop therapies that are better suited to particular disease types. The study recruited a large group of patients (286) who were newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease between 2008 and 2013, and is following them up every 18 months with clinical assessments, memory and thinking tests and blood tests.

ICICLE-PD

The ICICLE-PD study is a twin centre study involving participants from Cambridge and Newcastle who were newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease between 2009 and 2011. It is an observational study whereby patients are followed up every 18 months in order to track the progression of their Parkinson’s disease. Patients perform an extensive battery of memory and thinking tests at each appointment, and a subset of patients in the ICICLE study had brain scans and lumbar punctures done at their first assessments. The main aim of the study is to help us better understand why some people with Parkinson’s disease develop memory difficulties, as the reason for this is currently poorly understood. As longer follow-up data becomes available from this study, it will help us to discover what group of patients with Parkinson’s disease are more likely to develop dementia and how we can better treat it.

TRANSEURO

Transeuro is a European research consortium with the principal objective of developing a treatment forpatients with early stage Parkinson’s disease. The study is funded by the European Commission and is a unique initiative which brings together some of the world’s leading Parkinson’s researchers, aiming to reduce further delays in using cells to treat Parkinson’s disease. The initiative will focus on refining cell‐based therapy, which replaces the diseased cells with healthy cells. We have successfully grafted our first patient in May 2015.

PRoBaNd Study

PRoBaND: Parkinson’s Repository of Biosamples and Network Datasets: Prospective observational study of Parkinson’s disease with repeat clinical assessment and biobanking of blood samples.

This is a multicentre study running at several different sites in the UK. The main aim is to record the clinical features and progression of patients with early Parkinson’s disease, in order to stratify patients into different types of PD Patients attend our research clinic for an appointment every 6 months. The visits involve assessments that measure the movement and non-movement features of Parkinson’s and the response to medication, as well as looking into demographics, memory and thinking, mood, impulse control and quality of life. Blood tests are taken on the baseline visit and repeated later in the study. These blood specimens are tested for known genes relating to Parkinson’s but also tested for potential new markers of the disease. There are 70 study centres taking part in the Proband study and over 2000 patients have been recruited across the UK to date. Data is anonymised and securely stored on a computer database which is accessible to study collaborators across sites.

SMART-PD

The SMART-PD study aims to evaluate the impact of using an app in increasing medication adherence and enhancing the quality of clinical consultation. The app reminds participants to take the PD medication at the right time, and allows patients to track their symptoms over time. The main objectives are to investigate whether patients with PD who use the app show improved medication adherence, and whether using the appaffects Quality of Life (QoL), quality of clinical consultation, and overall disease state. The study is coordinated by Umotif Ltd.

GBA and PD

This project aims to recruit participants with and without glucocerebrosidase (GBA) mutations to understand more about the role of GBA in dictating disease course in PD. GBA mutations are the highest genetic risk factor associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD). We collected skin biopsies from patients and convert these patient cells to relevant neurons affected in PD. We also follow these participants in the clinic using cognitive assessments.

BIRAX

This project aims to recruit 200 participants with PD and controls to investigate breath samples. The project will analyse the breath samples from PD patients and controls to see if there are any different markers found in the breath of different individuals. This work is cofounded by the British Council and Parkinson’s UK.