Parkinson’s UK has announced plans to invest £1 million to develop a treatment to slow down progression of the disease.

The charity is partnering with NRG Therapeutics Ltd to discover and develop a potential drug that could safeguard dopamine cells that are damaged by Parkinson’s and slow down the progression of the condition.

Building on recent discoveries that show a direct link between mitochondrial dysfunction and the loss of dopamine cells, Parkinson’s UK will invest up to £1 million in NRG Therapeutics to develop and translate this pioneering research into a potential therapeutic.

The initial investment in NRG Therapeutics from Parkinson’s UK will support the identification of novel, small, molecules that are likely to enter the brain and protect the mitochondria within dopamine-producing cells.

Dr Arthur Roach, director of research at Parkinson's UK, said: “We all know there is a tremendous need to find better treatments for Parkinson’s that can slow down the progression of the condition. This pioneering research could be the first step towards identifying molecules that can protect mitochondria within dopamine-producing cells.

Parkinson's disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. The three main symptoms of the disease are involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body (tremor), slow movement and stiff and inflexible muscles. It affects 148,000 people in the UK, which is around one in 350 of the adult population.