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29th May 2023

Finding The Missing Piece To Neurodegeneration

Blagojce Jovcevski

Piecing together the complex puzzle of how neurodegenerative diseases develop and progress is the latest research being backed by The Hospital Research Foundation Group thanks to your generous donations.

Dr Blagojce Jovcevski from the University of Adelaide aims to complete the puzzle through clues found in the “gut-brain axis” and a biological process known as “protein homeostasis”.

A person’s failure to maintain ‘protein homeostasis’ could be the missing piece.

“Put more simply, this imbalance of protein function in the gut is increasingly thought to drive the progression of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s disease,” Dr Jovcevski said.

“Our research aims to gain unparalleled understanding of the protein mechanisms that fail in the gut-brain axis that drives neurodegeneration.

“This information will then help us to better understand how these diseases originate and progress, which can then inform new biomarkers for diagnosis and even prevention.”

Most interestingly, this imbalance of ‘protein homeostasis’ occurs well before any symptoms of neurodegeneration appear.

“Since this occurs well prior to symptoms being observed, it provides an unexplored opportunity for truly understanding disease progression and developing effective therapeutics that target the origin of disease,” Dr Jovcevski said.

“If we can identify key protein-to-protein interactions responsible for both maintaining and disrupting protein homeostasis, we may be able to identify molecular biomarkers for individuals at risk of early onset of disease.”

The Hospital Research Foundation Group used the federal NHMRC investigator scheme to identify projects worthy of further funding, with a strong focus on patient impact. This means that your donations are going to high-quality, impactful projects which meet an unmet need.

The three-year project also aims to inform research in motor neurone disease (MND) and dementia.

We look forward to keeping you updated!

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