Exeter Hospital to play key role in landmark Parkinson's studyApr 16, 2012
Two Westcountry hospitals – the Royal Cornwall Hospital (RCH) and the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (RD & E) - will play a pivotal role in a groundbreaking research project that offers new hope of a cure for victims of a debilitating neurological disorder .
The pioneering study into Parkinson's which was unveiled on 16 April 2012 will see these local hospitals join the world's biggest bid tracking people with the disease.
A spokesman for the Truro-based trust said it was good news for patients and an endorsement for their researchers.
‘We are delighted to be playing a key role in this exciting new study into Parkinson's Disease which is particularly significant in a county that has a higher proportion of older people.’ he said.
'As a teaching hospitals trust we are rapidly developing an innovative and comprehensive research programme which is great news for our patients who are able to benefit from many of the latest treatments and techniques.
'A thriving research culture helps us to attract more experts to the region, to boost our local economy and most importantly to see continued improvement in quality of care.'
The study is being launched by the charity Parkinson's UK, which is investing over £1.6 million to unlock secrets about the ‘shaking’ disease and boost the chances of finding a cure.
The announcement was made at the start of Parkinson's Awareness Week and the charity is calling for 3,000 volunteers – those with a recent diagnosis, anyone diagnosed under the age of 50 and their brothers and sisters - to take part in its sweeping clinical study. The Parkinson's UK research project will eventually link up to 40 centres around the UK.
At the RCH, research is being led by Dr Roderick Bland, while at RD & E it is being led by Dr Ray Sheridan, both of who are consultant physicians.
The landmark research project offers real hope. Dr Sheridan said:
‘Finding a cure for Parkinson's is what every researcher in the field dreams about. Tracking Parkinson's is a major new research project and we are very excited to be involved right at the beginning.’
Dr Bland added:
‘This study really offers hope for the future for people with Parkinson's, and we need people to volunteer to help us make our vision of a cure a reality.’
The aim of the Tracking Parkinson's' study is to identify elusive physiological signposts, or biomarkers, for the disease which could be used to make an early diagnosis and give doctors the best chance of controlling the distressing symptoms.
Despite efforts across the world, these biological indicators, which offer the best chance of finding a cure, have yet to be pinned down.
To find out more about how to take part in Tracking Parkinson's call the charity's freephone helpline 0808 800 0303, or visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/tracking