Touching Lives - June 2003
Successful outcome for Parkinson's disease project
Recent research has shown that PD and these related conditions are associated with inflammation of affected brain areas, which in turn may lead to tissue damage and acceleration of the disease.
Thanks to £136,000 from Action Medical Research, a team of researchers at Imperial College School of Medicine, London, has been the first to measure the extent of this inflammation using a brain-imaging technique called positron emission tomography (PET).
The team, headed by Professor David Brooks, has successfully used the technique to detect and measure the level of inflammation in patients with PD and related conditions. Results demonstrated that in the other conditions, inflammation occurs in more widespread areas of the brain than in PD.
^This method will help clinical understanding of all these conditions, and could be an important tool for testing potential treatments^ designed to halt the progression of these serious disorders. The team will now go on to use the new technique to investigate the relationship between the inflammatory changes in the brain and the progression of PD, and also to test a new treatment to see if it reduces inflammation in Parkinsonian disorders.
Professor Brooks commented: “The support from Action Medical Research has been extremely helpful for our research. It has helped us to understand the role of inflammation in Parkinson’s disease better and the scanning technique we developed is currently part of therapeutic trials in this disabling disorder.”