New, more effective treatments are urgently needed for the more than one million people living with Parkinson’s in Europe today. PD-MitoQUANT (www.pdmitoquant.eu) is an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project investigating the role of mitochondrial malfunction in Parkinson’s. Academic experts, Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs), pharmaceutical companies from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and the patient advocacy organisation, Parkinson’s UK have assembled in this project to:
(i) improve our understanding of mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s,
(ii) validate molecular drivers and mechanisms,
(iii) develop improved models for study, and
(iv) discover novel therapeutic targets for future therapies.
Message from Project Coordinator Prof Jochen Prehn
“PD-MitoQUANT began work in February 2019. All partners have contributed to ground-breaking work.
CNRS and Lundbeck identified a novel form of the protein α-synuclein that produces disease pathology in nerve cells, which will be studied throughout the project. α-synuclein is a major contributor to Parkinson’s. However, it comes in different forms (monomers, oligomers, fibrils), as described in the PD-MitoQUANT publication in the Journal of Neurochemistry (αα-synuclein oligomers and fibrils: a spectrum of species, a spectrum of toxicities; June 2019; 150(5); https://bit.ly/2PDPCit). The identification of a form that reliably induces neuropathology in models of Parkinson’s represents a significant achievement for the consortium and the field in general.
CNR, ICM and SME MIMETAS expanded on the delivery of translatable models of Parkinson’s by establishing models and protocols for generating neurons originating from cells of people with Parkinson’s. Lundbeck and RCSI have harmonized cell culture regimens to streamline analysis throughout PD-MitoQUANT. DZNE and ICM developed tools to study α-synuclein toxicity in Drosophila and C. elegans. Here, the effects of genes and master regulators of α-synuclein toxicity can be analyzed in high throughput. RCSI, TEVA, UCL, RUMC and ICM established stringent protocols for the evaluation of mitochondrial dysfunction in these models.
Industry partners UCB and SME GeneXplain and RCSI co-created stringent data management and bioinformatics platforms that will be adopted by the entire consortium.
Finally, Parkinson’s UK developed PD-MitoQUANT’s communication plan, continually involving our patient representatives.”
Find out more about the latest progress of the PD-MitoQUANT project, which is investigating the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson by downloading the full 2020-02-03 PD-MitoQUANT – Newsletter here.
Learn the Lingo
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in controlling motion. A neurotransmitter is a chemical that passes messages between nerve cells (neurons). Parkinson’s involves the loss of neurons that release dopamine, resulting in symptoms like tremors or slow movement.