Systems Medicine of Mitochondrial Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Besides movement-related symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity, and slowness of movement, PD patients often experience a variety of non-motor symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, and dementia.
After Alzheimer’s disease, PD is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and its prevalence will continue to grow as the population ages. More than one million people with PD live in Europe today and this number is forecast to double by 2030. Currently, the associated European costs are estimated at €13.9 billion annually. This creates a social and economic challenge to develop new medications to slow down the progression of PD.
Although both genetic and environmental factors have been shown to contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease, the exact cause of the disease in individual patients is often still difficult to determine. In a subgroup of Parkinson’s disease patients however, mutations in single mitochondrial genes and/or mitochondrial dysfunction has been detected.
The SysMedPD project unites a highly experienced multidisciplinary consortium to improve understanding and detection of PD with mitochondrial dysfunction. Eight partners from five European countries will collaborate to discover and develop novel drug candidates, specifically tailored to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease with overt mitochondrial dysfunction.