Progress and Prospects in Parkinson's Research/Hot Topics

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This is a stub which needs elaborating.

This page will be constantly updated as new directions in Parkinson's research emerge.

In order to detect new trends, strategies and paradigms we should keep under review the new research projects that the different Parkinson's organisations are funding. These are organisations such as the Michael J Fox Foundation, Parkinson's UK [1] and the Cure Parkinson's Trust [2]. (Please add other leaders in the field.)

'Hot topics' at the end of 2012 should probably include:

  • The discovery (that needs replicating by others) that alpha-synuclein exists in physiological conditions as a tetramer. [3] This has implications for researchers trying to prevent alpha-synuclein aggregation. More recently further work has been reported[4] on the details of alpha-synuclein oligomerisation and aggregation as described in the "Getting the Ball Rolling" article.
  • The trials of Exendin-4, a drug that is already approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, as a neuroprotective and neurorestorative agent.[5] There are other examples of the potential to 'reposition' existing drugs.
  • Large projects to create biobanks of biological samples for the purposes, both now and in the future, of finding and utilising biomarkers for the early detection of Parkinson's and the measurement of the rate of progress of the disease [6] (See also the "Getting the Ball Rolling" article.)
  • Developments in the field of induced pluripotent stem cells and the use of cutaneous cells from Parkinson's patients.[7] (See also the "Getting the Ball Rolling" article.)
  • Insights from genetics and Genome-Wide Association Studies [8]
  • Regulating neuroinflammation and modifying the immune response.
  • The search for Neuroprotective agents[9]
  • And so on.

Separate or sub-pages are needed for the Hot Topics and/or links to existing pages in other sections.

Current Hot Topics

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Vitamin D, Role of alpha-synuclein in pathogenesis, Neuroprotective agents, Biomarkers and Biomeasures, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, Genome-Wide Association Studies, Getting Drugs from Lab to Clinic


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  1. The research strategy of Parkison's UK is at:
  2. The annual reviews of the CPT are found at
  3. 1. Tim Bartels, Joanna G Choi, and Dennis J Selkoe, “α-Synuclein occurs physiologically as a helically folded tetramer that resists aggregation,” Nature (August 14, 2011),
  4. Cremades, Nunilo, Samuel I.A. Cohen, Emma Deas, Andrey Y. Abramov, Allen Y. Chen, Angel Orte, Massimo Sandal, et al. “Direct Observation of the Interconversion of Normal and Toxic Forms of α-Synuclein.” Cell 149, no. 5 (May 25, 2012): 1048–1059.
  5. 1. Tom Foltynie, “Exendin-4 as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease - pilot trial”, n.d.,
  6. 1. “Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative | Research Documents & SOPs”, n.d.,
  7. 1. Tilo Kunath, “Stem cells and disease research: challenges for iPS cells” (October 17, 2011),
  8. 1. Chuong B. Do et al., “Web-Based Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Two Novel Loci and a Substantial Genetic Component for Parkinson’s Disease,” PLoS Genet 7, no. 6 (June 23, 2011): e1002141
  9. See sub page on neuroprotective agents