Hope rests on Study: International Parkinson’s research at the Elena-Klinik, Participants Sought
KASSEL. Kassel is once again a center for international research: The Paracelsus-Elena-Clinic is one of five European centers taking part in a major study for the early detection and the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Supporting the study is the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which was created by the Canadian-American actor who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. The center is currently looking for study participants. Of the 40 million U.S. dollars in funding raised for the study, approximately 1.2 million euros will go to Kassel over several years. The clinic in Harleshausen is cooperating with the Neurological University Clinic of Marburg on this project. In Kassel, 20 participants will be included in the study.
Parkinson’s patients are being sought who are at a very early stage of the disease and who have not taken any Parkinson’s medication as yet. In addition, healthy volunteers are also being sought who have no first-degree relatives with Parkinson’s disease. In the first year of the study, participants at the Elena Klinik will be examined first every 3 months, then every six months thereafter. What is being sought are distinctive biological characteristics, so-called biomarkers that are associated with the onset or progression of Parkinson’s disease, explained the study’s coordinator in Kassel, senior physician and lecturer Dr. Brit Mollenhauer. This unique and large scale study is extremely important for the future treatment of Parkinson’s patients. Especially since there are a number of new drugs that leads one to hope that these medications may prompt longer survival of nerve cells. “When patients come to us for the first time, 50 to 70 percent of the corresponding nerve cells have already died off,” said Dr. Mollenhauer. “If you knew the relevant biomarkers which were indicators of the disease, we could identify patients at risk with a simple test in the future – similarly to heart attack risk patients.”
Search in cerebrospinal fluid The Kassel neurologist Brit Mollenhauer also sits in the steering committee for the international study. When searching for Parkinson’s disease progression markers in the blood ‘we haven’t been very successful’ commented, Mollenhauer. That is why the study will also closely monitor the cerebrospinal fluid, which is considered key to developing improved therapies. Contact Information: 05 61 / 6 00 92 72
Parkinsons Background: When Michael J. Fox Parkinson founded the Parkinson’s Foundation eleven years ago, his goal was to cure the disease in ten years .But so far modern medicine can only treat the symptoms of this neurological disease. The origin of the disease is in cells that occupy a part of the brain where dopamine is produced in healthy people. This substance ensures that nerves impulses are transmitted along certain pathways which play an important role in controlling movement sequences. In Parkinson’s patients, the dopamine producing cells die off, for reasons unknown.
Click here to view the original article in German, as published by Hessische Allgemeine.