King’s is part of world-first Parkinson’s Disease study

King’s College Hospital will this week start their contribution to the world’s biggest Parkinson’s Disease study. Over £1.5million is being invested by the Parkinson’s UK charity into the ‘Tracking Parkinson’s’ study, to try and unlock further secrets about the disease and to boost the chances of finding a cure. 40 recently diagnosed patients aged under 50 are needed for the five-year trial at King’s.

Parkinson’s UK, the leading research and support charity, (www.parkinsons.org.uk) has chosen the opening day of Parkinson’s Awareness Week to put out an urgent call for 3,000 volunteers – to take part in its ground-breaking ‘Tracking Parkinson’s’ clinical study.

The Parkinson’s UK research project will be led by Dr Donald Grosset at the University of Glasgow and will link eventually to 35-40 centres around the UK.

King’s is one of the key centres taking part with the research being led by Professor K Ray Chaudhuri and Director of the National Parkinson Foundation centre of excellence. He said:

“Finding a cure for Parkinson’s and precisely mapping the journey of a person with Parkinson’s, from the onset of the illness (natural history) 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 London to volunteer to help us make our vision of a cure a reality.

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.

To qualify as a volunteer for ‘Tracking Parkinson’s’ at one of the UK centres, people need to have be under the age of 50 or have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s within the last three years (from the date they register for the study). Brothers or sisters of either set of participants are also invited to take part.

To find out more about how to take part in Tracking Parkinson’s call the freephone helpline 0808 800 0303, or visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/tracking for full details and links to other Parkinson’s UK funded research.