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Local Parkinson’s Disease Society branch members ‘Meet the Scientists’

10 December 2008

Scientists at the University’s Brain Repair Group who are at the forefront of the research into Parkinson’s Disease have welcomed members of the South Powys, Cardiff, Bridgend and Pontypridd branches of the Parkinson’s Disease Society.

One person in 500 - around 120,000 individuals in the UK - suffers from Parkinson's and the visit was part of a ‘Meet the Scientists day" through which branch members were able to see first hand how the monies raised to fund vital research projects had been spent.

Five research projects are currently funded at the University by the Parkinson’s Disease Society, at a cost of over £600,000. The Parkinson’s Disease Society is the largest non commercial funder of research into Parkinson’s in the UK, and is also the 11th largest funder of medical research.

During the day, the visitors also heard presentations on gene therapies, stem cell research, and new drug developments from Professor Stephen Dunnett, co-director of the Brain Repair Group, and his team based in the School of Biosciences. They later toured the lab, where they met students, senior researchers and post-doctorals who explained the mysteries of medical research.

Val Morgans, Branch Secretary for the South Powys branch said: "It was wonderful to hear that so much research into Parkinson’s is taking place in Cardiff, and to be able to come along to meet researchers and scientists passionate about trying to find a cure for Parkinson’s was truly inspirational. And they were all so young!

"All the branches are delighted to be able to help buy much needed equipment to support scientists in their everyday work".

Dr Emma Lane, part of the team at the Cardiff School of Biosciences comments: "To be able to meet people with Parkinson’s and explain our research really puts the work that we do here in the lab into context. It’s motivational for the team and reminds us why we’re here".

Professor Dunnett concludes: "Inviting local Parkinson’s Disease branches along to days like these are so important. We are very grateful for their support."

The Brain Repair Group is a 25-strong multidisciplinary team of biomedical and clinical scientists, students and support staff, under the co-direction of Prof Stephen Dunnett and Prof Anne Rosser, working to understand and develop new cell based treatments for major neurodegenerative diseases of the brain, in particular Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease.