Coffey lab awarded 360,000$ from Michael J. Fox Foundation to Improve Patient Diagnosis and Monitoring in Parkinson’s Disease

    The lab identified that LRRK2, a kinase that plays a central role in familial and sporadic Parkinson’s Disease, controls the cellular machinery that is responsible for translating genetic code into proteins. This machinery is called the ribosome. They found that the production of new proteins by ribosomes was lower in rodent models of Parkinson’s disease and in skin biopsies from patients with sporadic disease or from those carrying a specific mutation in LRRK2. With this funding the group will search for disease-specific signatures of disturbed ribosome function from patient blood. Demonstration of patterns of proteins that are robust markers of Parkinson’s disease and especially of disease progression will allow diagnosis and staging. The proteins identified may also give useful insight on disease mechanism.

    The Michael J. Fox Foundation supports research towards altering and defining Parkinson’s disease. This work is in collaboration with Prof. Peter James at the University of Lund and Dr. Valtteri Kaasinen at Turku University Hospital.