New Parkinson's disease research initiative receives support from Prof Ian Wilmut

New Parkinson's disease research initiative receives support from Prof Ian Wilmut


Wednesday, 11 April, 2018

Professor Sir Ian Wilmut (The Roslin Institute), lead scientist in the project that created Dolly the Sheep, has announced, on World Parkinson's Disease Day, that he is backing a major new Parkinsons's disease research programme between Dundee and Edinburgh after being diagnosed with the condition.

The BBC have conducted an exculsive interview with Professor Wilmut which can be found on their website (link below).

Parkinson's Disease  can cause a range of symptoms including slow movement, muscle stiffness and involuntary shaking.  Treatments can help symptoms but there is nothing to slow down or stop the progression. 

The work pioneering work on Dolly the Sheep has led to the development of techniques that now allow scientists to reprogramme adult cells to become any cell type in the body (induced pluripotent stem cells, iPSC's). iPSC cells are now being used in many neuroscience research areas and hold grest promise because of their potential to repair damaged tissue.  Dr Tilo Kunath (MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine) is using this approach to understand Parkinson's Disease.

Dr Tilo Kunath said: "Professor Wilmut's cloning of Dolly the sheep really turned biological thinking on its head.  It really opened up the eyes of a lot of scientists - that you could reverse in time the age of cells or the age of an animal. That really influenced a very prominent scientist, Shinya Yamanaka, to make these stem cells that I've been using in my lab now for the last five years. His discovery has really opened up an area of biology that has transformed the way we try to study diseases, the way that we model diseases and I think it's really exciting that one of the conditions that iPSCs will be addressing is Parkinson's disease."

The Dundee-Edinburgh Initiative, which launches at a joint symposium on Friday, plans to set up the first clinical trials in Scotland aimed at slowing down Parkinson's.