The Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre (OPDC) is a unique multidisciplinary research centre at the University of Oxford supported by Parkinson’s UK with funds from The Monument Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts. Established in February 2010, the OPDC brings together internationally-renowned scientists who work on the genetics of Parkinson’s, the generation of cell and animal models, and the wiring of brain circuits which control movement, with clinical experts in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s. The centre was formed to understand the earliest events in the development of Parkinson’s and create animal models with greater relevance to the disease, ultimately with a view to identifying the changes which occur before the symptoms become apparent.

The OPCS’s research programme targets the molecular pathways to Parkinson’s disease in order to:

  1. Understand the progression of PD
  2. Predict the onset of PD
  3. Identify potential drug targets for PD
  4. Develop new treatments that will prevent the development of PD in at-risk individuals.

Expertise:

Oxford Stem Cell Centre

  • Differentiation and in depth characterisation of physiological dopaminergic neurons from iPSC-lines generated from a range of subjects, including monogenic and idiopathic PD, and healthy controls
  • Assay development to identify cellular phenotypes and mechanisms
  • Development of phenotype screens for target discovery
  • Repository of 100 iPSC lines

Prospective OPDC Discovery cohort to improve understanding of the biology of premotor and early PD, and identify predictors of disease onset and progression.

  • Recruitment of 1000 unselected, well-characterised PD cases, 300 control and 190 PD ‘at-risk’ subjects from a 2.3 million population base over five years.
  • Collection of DNA, serum, cerebrospinal fluid and fibroblasts in an integrated program of genetic analysis, biomarker discovery and the development of neuronal culture models.

Brain magnetic imaging to track the earliest changes in individuals and to correlate changes in imaging signal seen in PD patients with neuropathological changes in the PD brain.

Oxford Brain bank

  • state-of-the-art neuropathology facilities in John Radcliffe Hospital
  • retrieval to fresh sampling, DNA/RNA extraction and quality control
  • high throughput gene expression, protein analysis and quantitative analysis of pathological end-points and cell loss