February 3, 2015
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on Parkinson’s UK visit to Parkure

Parkinson’s UK visit to Parkure

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On 7th January 2015 a group of six members of the Edinburgh Research Interest Group of Parkinson’s UK visited Parkure. We had the chance to introduce ourselves and explain our research in a bit more detail. Informal visits like this give us the opportunity to interact more with those directly affected by Parkinson’s so we can focus more on what matters. You can read what the Edinburgh Research Interest Group of Parkinson’s UK said about their visit here.

January 19, 2015
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on Living with young onset Parkinson’s

Living with young onset Parkinson’s

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Thinking of Parkinson’s disease as something that could only affect your gran is a common misconception. Sadly it is a little known fact that 1 in 20 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease are under the age of 40. Young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) is the diagnosis with Parkinson’s before the age of 50. YOPD has also been associated with – but not limited to – mutations of a specific gene, LRRK2.

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January 6, 2015
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on The personal burden of Parkinson’s disease

The personal burden of Parkinson’s disease

Hands

Having discussed the financial cost of Parkinson’s disease, it is time to discuss the most important aspect, the personal burden. Parkinson’s affects 1 in 100 people over the age of 60. Although this entry focuses on the effects of Parkinson’s on the  lives of the older among us, we have to also remember that 1 in 5 diagnosed are between 18 and 64…

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December 17, 2014
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on The Cost of Parkinson’s disease

The Cost of Parkinson’s disease

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The real price of any disease is all that it causes to the sufferers and carers. But have you ever thought how this affects you? Parkinson’s as any other disease poses an economic burden both to sufferers and to national health systems, where these are available. But how much does it really cost?

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November 13, 2014
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on News: Parkure awarded SMART grant from Scottish Enterprise

News: Parkure awarded SMART grant from Scottish Enterprise

We are very happy to announce that we have been awarded with a Scottish Enterprise SMART:Scotland grant to do further R&D on the search for drugs that stop the progression of Parkinson’s disease. The grant is dependent on us raising enough seed funding from our equity crowdfunding campaign.  You can support us by pledging and investing in our equity crowdfunding campaign.

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September 23, 2014
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on Parkinson’s spreads with the spreading of α-synuclein.

Parkinson’s spreads with the spreading of α-synuclein.

 

The structure of an α-synuclein monomer.

The structure of an α-synuclein monomer. Taken from PDB entry 1xq8

Recently scientists showed that the spreading of a protein called α-synuclein is the reason of spreading of Parkinson’s (see below). This was known mechanisms in mice but was now demonstrated in diseased human tissue. This is a very important discovery as it reinforces Parkure’s α-synuclein targeting approach as a way likely to produce better drugs or even a cure. We thought we’d discuss our views on α-synuclein.

Focus on α-synuclein toxicity

Parkinson’s disease can be initiated in many ways, but the available evidence points to one factor playing a central role in the disease process, and particularly in the spreading of the disease to involve more and more of the brain. This factor is the presence of small complexes (oligomers) of the protein called α-synuclein. For this reason Parkure is focusing on finding drugs that block the toxic actions of excess α-synuclein or its mutant forms.

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September 22, 2014
by Lysimachos Zografos
Comments Off on Parkinson’s disease the humble fruitfly and crowdfunding

Parkinson’s disease the humble fruitfly and crowdfunding

Parkure is a new company putting academic research into action and searching for drugs that stop the neurodegeneration process in Parkinson’s disease. Founded by University of Edinburgh researchers and biotechnology experts, our aim is to find new drugs that could lead to a cure for Parkinson’s disease. We are going to start by looking among the drugs that are already available in the market, a strategy also known as repurposing.

Using fruitflies to discover new drugs

We are going to search for new drugs using whole organisms, more specifically fruitflies. The fruifly, although humble, has been used as a model organism in neuroscience for decades. By testing drugs on these fruitflies, which have been genetically engineered to develop Parkinson’s disease, we can identify the ones that have positive effects and begin more detailed biochemical studies on them. Secondary tests will ensure that the drugs function in the human context (Figure 1).

The flies produce a key protein believed to be involved in Parkinson’s disease in their brains – human alpha-synuclein – and develop symptoms. Using this simple approach, we hope to identify drugs with effects on alpha-synuclein or other relevant pathways that are more likely to halt neurodegeneration, rather than just symptomatic treatments in the dopaminergic system. Also the results are more relevant than those of more traditional methods based on testing drugs using in test tubes. Parkure’s CEO Dr. Lysimachos Zografos explains: “By using whole animals we can test within the context of a living organism rather than on a glass chip. Initial results show promise. We are already following up a couple of drugs but we have many thousands more to test”.

Fruitfly

Figure 1: The common fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, can be genetically engineered to get Parkinson’s disease. These engineered flies develop the hallmarks and symptoms and if a drug has a positive effect on Parkinson’s it will also alleviate these. This way the fruitflies can be used as a way to test new drugs.

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