Public lecture: The autophagy signaling network, c-‐myc and pathology: don't mess with the cell cycle!
You are invited to a public lecture by Francesco Cecconi, an eminent scientist in the field of autophagy and neurodegeneration, on Thursday the 25th of April at 17:00, in the lecture theatre of 33 Queen Square, University College Hospital London, WC1N. The lecture will be followed by a general discussion with drinks and food. More...
Have you ever wondered how scientists research the brain? Have you wondered who digs through that beautiful mass of grey matter between our ears to understand how it works and why it stops working? Meet the Neurodegenerative Diseases Initiative. Funded by the Wellcome Trust and MRC, this team of scientists from around the globe investigates Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neuron Diseases. The team is on the hunt for understanding and treatments for brain diseases. More...
The "Degenerating Brains" public symposium was held on the 13th March 2013, as part of Brain Awareness Week. Around 250 people showed up to hear Professors John Hardy (UCL), Chris Shaw (KCL) and David Rubinsztein (Cambridge) discuss new discoveries in neurodegenerative diseases and how they might impact drug treatment. More...
New research, published in Neuron, gives insight into how single mutations in the VCP gene cause a range of neurological conditions including a form of dementia called Inclusion Body Myopathy, Paget’s Disease of the Bone and Frontotemporal Dementia (IBMPFD), and the motor neuron disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). More...
You are invited to an evening (13th March 2013) exploring the very latest in cutting edge research into neurodegenerative diseases. Supported by the Wellcome Trust, scientists investigating Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Motor Neuron disease will explain how our understanding of these disorders is changing in the light of new discoveries in genetics and cell biology, and how these discoveries impact on developing new drugs for these diseases.
18.00 Welcome and introduction
18.10 Lectures commence
Understanding Parkinson`s Disease: Lessons from Biology
Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative disease that afflicts more than 2 per cent of people aged over 75 years. In the UK, this means there are over 100 000 people with the disease: with the ageing population this number will increase. The annual cost in nursing-home care for Parkinson's disease alone in the UK is estimated to be about £600-800 million.
Despite tremendous progress in the identification of genes associated with Parkinson’s and related disorders over the last decade, there is still only outline and sketchy information about the molecular pathways involved, and their constituents and their interactions.
Finally, in order to really understand the pathway to human disease, and to be able to influence its progression, the earliest phase needs to be examined. Thus the consortium will also focus on developing understanding of the very early symptoms or warnings of the illness.
The consortium hypothesises that there are multiple causes of Parkinson's, which result in a very small number of separate but converging biochemical pathways. These pathways interact with the molecular pathology of ageing and induce neuronal dysfunction and death, producing the characteristic pathological features of the condition.
It will need to identify all the significant genetic risk factors, and place these molecules and their variants in their pathways to enable it to understand how the human disease begins and develops.
To understand these pathways and mechanisms requires the establishment and integrated use of a range of models.
The consortium aims to achieve a much fuller picture of all the major genetic factors that underlie Parkinson's. It will then identify and characterise the biochemical pathways that these genes determine, and explore their role in the development of disease. To dissect these mechanisms, the consortium has brought in expertise from mitochondrial biology, cell signalling and Drosophila biology to complement its other model systems.
In parallel it will study the very earliest stages of the illness. It is widely believed that only by understanding these early phases will we be able to modify the disease course for the greatest clinical impact. To aid this work, the consortium has harnessed the clinical and biochemical resources of the national Gaucher's disease clinic. This will help it to build cohorts of individuals who are genetically at risk; detailed studies of these individuals will include imaging and biochemical assessments.
Over the next five years, the consortium’s plan is to produce detailed knowledge of the molecular pathways that lead to Parkinson’s, and validated markers of its evolution.
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