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Coffey lab’s work against Parkinson’s Disease gets funding from Michael J. Fox Foundation

Coffey lab at Turku Centre for Biotechnology has been awarded 360,000 $ from Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to improve patient diagnosis and monitoring in Parkinson’s Disease. The lab is led by Eleanor Coffey, Research Director at Åbo Akademi University in Turku, Finland.

The funded research builds on the lab’s earlier work, which 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.

“We 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,” says Coffey.

“With this funding we 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 for Parkinson’s Research supports research towards altering and defining Parkinson’s disease. Turku Centre for Biotechnology is a joint department of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, providing high-end technologies and expertise to academic and industrial researchers. The funded work is done in collaboration with Prof. Peter James at the University of Lund and Dr. Valtteri Kaasinen at Turku University Hospital.