Parkinson’s UK says it intends to invest a further £1.5 million into its drug discovery programme aiming to develop novel gene transcription modulators for Parkinson’s.

The novel gene transcription modulators, which are being developed to stop or slow the progression of Parkinson’s, increase the activity of a selection of genes which have the potential to both increase dopamine synthesis to ease symptoms and boost the production of proteins which have neuroprotective effects.

The pioneering programme was launched by the charity in March 2018 with contract research organisation Eurofins Selcia Drug Discovery conducting the work.

The new funding brings Parkinson’s UK’s total investment in the programme to more than £2.5 million.

The programme has already created hundreds of novel molecules, with the most promising being taken forward to be thoroughly tested to understand their potency, how stable they are, and their ability to enter both the brain and cells themselves.

The charity's funding will commission a further 12 months of work to identify the most promising molecule. It can then be assessed for its effectiveness, safety and tolerability in animal models.

Dr Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We’re very encouraged by the rapid progress that’s been made so far in this innovative drug discovery programme.

“The next 12 months of work will be critical and there are of course no guarantees. But by the end of 2019 we hope to have a new potential drug that we can take forwards into pre-clinical and clinical testing, an important step closer to our ultimate goal of transformative new treatments for Parkinson’s.”