A new, publicly accessible website is cataloguing the range of animal and cellular models currently available for the study of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and providing a forum for scientists to discuss the limitations of these models and how they might be improved. The JPND database of Experimental Models for Parkinson’s disease, developed in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR), aims to build an online network of scientists working in the field to more rapidly establish community consensus around currently available models. By bringing together expertise from across national and disciplinary boundaries, JPND seeks to accelerate progress toward the next generation of experimental models, which could ultimately contribute to a deeper understanding of the causes of PD and the development of potential disease-modifying therapies.
Why experimental models for Parkinson’s?
Experimental models mimic the processes thought to be at play in human patients and allow researchers to assess possible treatments before moving into clinical trials. They span both in vivo models – including mammals (e.g., mice) and non-mammals (e.g., zebrafish, Drosophila) — and in vitro models (e.g., “brain in a dish”). As such, they are a critical tool for scientists studying the origins and pathways of PD. Yet to date the available models have shown limited capabilities to translate the wealth of information recently generated by preclinical research into new treatments, diagnostics and preventive strategies. A 2014 report published by the JPND Action Group on Experimental Models identified some of the most pressing limitations facing current models for PD, including lack of behavioral analysis relevant to humans, lack of models for symptoms that do not respond to dopaminergic treatment, and lack of models with progressive neuronal loss associated to alpha-synuclein deposits and neuroinflammatory processes. With this web forum, JPND aims to address and expand on this analysis and set the basis for the development of innovative new strategies that can be applied in the field.
How does it work?
Sign up for free to access an overview of the different models and to join the conversation. The database currently provides detailed information on in-vivo mammalian models, and will soon be expanded to include non-mammalian in-vivo models as well as in vitro models. You may comment on specific individual models or categories of models and respond to comments already left by other users. It is expected to be expanded over time, with other neurodegenerative diseases covered by JPND added progressively. Additional models will also be added thanks to your contribution; your participation will help to build an open source of information available to everyone.
Why join the forum?
- Discuss the limitations and potential improvements of current models with other scientists
- Get the latest updates on the state-of-the-art of experimental models for PD
- Participate in real-time discussion
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