Luxembourg’s Rotary Clubs support national Parkinson’s research

IBBL (Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg) and LCSB (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine) have been awarded a EUR 30,000 cheque by Luxembourg’s Rotary Clubs in the context of the 6th edition of ‘Espoir en tête’, a yearly initiative aiming to raise funds for brain disease research in Luxembourg.

The donation will support the discovery of new neurotoxins in faecal water in the context of Parkinson’s disease. The project, a collaboration between Dr. Jean-Pierre Trezzi (IBBL), Dr. Emma Schymanski (LCSB) and Professor Paul Wilmes (LCSB), will analyse the human gut microbiome – the ecosystem of microbes that populate the digestive tract. Indeed, not only does its composition affect the digestive system, but it is also thought to be related to the onset and development of Parkinson’s disease. The study therefore aims to identify yet unknown neurotoxins in faecal water that play an important role in the early stages of the disease.

To this end, the stool samples of 20 Parkinson’s patients, 20 high-risk patients and 20 healthy control donors will be analysed by mass spectrometry. The project will leverage on an innovative and interdisciplinary approach, entailing both biomedical and cheminformatics techniques to improve the understanding of Parkinson’s disease.

“No cure is currently available for Parkinson’s disease, hence the importance of developing an accurate method for its early diagnosis”, explains Dr. Jean-Pierre Trezzi. “Our study seeks to elucidate how gut microbes and bacterial toxins can help us in this purpose, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of patients’ lives. We are extremely grateful to the Rotary Club for its generosity and constant commitment in supporting IBBL’s and, in general, Luxembourg’s biomedical research’.

A second project led by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) aiming to repair mutations involved in the onset of glioma brain tumours also benefited from a EUR 28,000 donation under the Rotary initiative, bringing the total awarded support to EUR 58,000.

Over the past six years, ‘Espoir en tête’ has been raising funds through the organisation of film premieres in Utopolis/Kinepolis cinemas. This year, over 3,500 spectators participated in the showing of the new Disney film ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ on March 25 2018, raising a total of EUR 58,000 in favour of Luxembourgish brain disease research.

The next edition of ‘Espoir en tête’ is planned for spring 2019. For more information on the initiative and donations, please visit the dedicated website.