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The future of Parkinson’s disease research

Published on April 19, 2022

The future of Parkinson’s disease research: A new paradigm of human-specific investigation is necessary… and possible.

The recently published proceedings of a scientific workshop on Parkinson’s disease research has highlighted the incredible power of human-specific methods of investigation, and recommended that we must “decisively move away from the quest for improved animal research in favour of advanced methods focused on human biology.” Such a move, the authors suggest, “would allow an improved understanding of disease mechanisms, better preventive strategies, as well as enabling new treatments to progress ‘from bench to bedside’ more quickly and cost-effectively.”

The paper was co-authored by Animal Free Research UK’s Science Director, Dr Jarrod Bailey, who was also involved in the inception, planning and conduct of the workshop, along with Dr Kathrin Herrmann and Dr Helena Hogberg, collaborators from the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

Published in the scientific journal ALTEX (Alternatives to Animal Experimentation), the paper reports in-depth scientific discussions among the hand-picked panel of eminent Parkinson’s disease researchers, all of whom have substantial experience in the field, and who are experts in research using advanced human-specific techniques such as human brain organoids (cultured mini-brains) and human brain-on-a-chip approaches. Their own research, detailed in the paper, shows how these methods have been used to investigate the causes of and risk factors for, pathology of and potential treatments for Parkinson’s…all in a human context, and which are therefore more reflective of, predictive of, and relevant to, actual human Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Bailey said “Parkinson’s disease is a huge problem, affecting an estimated 1 in 37 people during their lifetime. Yet, decades of research—much of it using animals—have failed to deliver a significant understanding of the human disease, and to deliver new, effective treatments for patients. This workshop and its published proceedings show clearly where the future of Parkinson’s research lies. A human focus is absolutely necessary, and adopting human-based methods is the only way we can reverse and change many years of failure. This will, as with other diseases and areas of research, be a win-win for humans and animals alike.”


The Future of Parkinson’s Disease Research: A New Paradigm of Human-Specific Investigation Is Necessary… and Possible. Available at:






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