Effect of medication on habitual gait in people with PD: a feasibility study
Project title: Effect of medication on habitual gait in people with PD: a feasibility study
Lead: Dr Silvia Del Din
Worsening of a person’s ability to walk (gait impairments) is a typical symptom for those with Parkinson’s disease. Issues with gait are also associated with an increased risk of falling, loss of independence and a poor quality of life.
Gait impairments can be lessened through medication, but the overall benefits of medication have not been tested in real-life conditions (e.g. at home).
Find out more about Dr Del Din's project.
Do surviving dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease develop a senescent phenotype?
Project title: “Do surviving dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson’s disease develop a senescent phenotype?”
Lead: Dr Diana Jurk, Research Associate, Institute Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences
Ageing is the greatest risk factor for the development of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's disease (PD). Many of the movement (motor) symptoms in PD, which can be accompanied by dementia, are thought to be caused by the death of brain cells in a region called the Substantia nigra and is associated with accumulation of alpha-synuclein aggregates. Ageing is believed to be a major risk factor for the development of this condition. My recent research has demonstrated that a process called cellular senescence increases in neurons with ageing and is accelerated by factors such as oxidative stress, inflammation and telomere-dysfunction, all of which have been associated with PD. In this proposal, I aim to investigate whether cellular senescence in neurons can be induced by alpha-synuclein aggregation and plays a role in Parkinson’s disease.
Find out more about Dr Jurk's project.
Pre-clinical validation of novel senolytic treatment
Deterioration of tissues with age was shown to be reversible when old cells, known as senescent cells, were targeted and killed. However, it is not feasible to apply genetic interventions when it comes to patients, thus development of more feasible therapies is required. In this project we aim at validation of the combination of two well-established treatments, the combination of which was found to selectively target and kill old senescent cells in a Petri dish.
Our project will contribute to understanding of susceptibility of senescent cells to death in response to nutrients deprivation and modulation of nutrient-sensing pathways. Since 2011, a search for an efficient and safe method of removal of senescent cells from mammal organisms has driven researchers to perform complex drug screens to identify effective compound with senolytic effect. At the same time, one study has identified a combination of treatments that selectively kill senescent cells in vitro. Our aim is to identify if selectivity is preserved when the combination is applied in vivo.