The International Parkinson Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC) held their annual meeting in London in December. 

Over 150 researchers working on the genetics of Parkinson’s attended the two-day event which was sponsored by Cure Parkinson’s.

The IPDGC is a group of highly collaborative scientists, who are focused on improving our understanding of the genetics of Parkinson’s and related conditions. The organisation has been working for 10 years towards this goal. 

Approximately 20% of cases of Parkinson’s are associated with a genetic risk factor – a tiny variation in certain regions of our DNA that make a person more vulnerable to developing Parkinson’s. There is also increasing evidence that some genetic variants may be influencing the age of onset and rate of progression of Parkinson’s.

The meeting was broken down into different sessions which focused on:

  • Large DNA collection initiatives (updates were provided on the “LARGE-PD” (Latin American Research consortium on the GEnetics of Parkinson’s Disease) Find out more
  • Clinical-genetic programmes that evaluate the associations between genetic analysis and the clinical outcomes (interesting new results exploring the sex-differences of Parkinson’s were discussed during this session)
  • Genomic association studies which are now investigating the influence of genetic variations on aspects of cell biology that are affected in Parkinson’s.
  • Pathological studies that explore how the genetics of Parkinson’s could be directly affecting the changes in the brain (and body)

A lot of new data was shared, encouraged by the consortium, and new tools/resources were proposed and discussed. The Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (or ASAP) sponsored Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2) was a major talking point at the meeting, as many of the attendees are directly involved in this project.

The IPDGC is an amazing asset for the Parkinson’s community, not only for the amazing research that they are doing, but also for the ethos that the group is encouraging: everything is shared and open access. It is a really inspiring group.

Dr Simon Stott, Deputy Director of Research, Cure Parkinson’s