HINCHINGBROOKE Hospital is to take part in a major new research project that hopes to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

Tracking Parkinson's, which was launched at the beginning of Parkinson's Awareness Week on Monday (April 16), is to become the biggest in-depth study into the neurological condition anywhere in the world.

Parkinson's UK is investing £1.6million in the scheme which will be led by Dr Donald Grosset at Glasgow University and linked to 40 centres around the UK, including Huntingdon.

The charity is appealing for 3,000 volunteers - people who have been diagnosed in the last three years or who were aged under 50 at the time of diagnosis - to take part in the clinical study.

Consultant physician at Hinchingbrooke, Dr Colin Borland, who is leading research in Cambridgeshire, told The Hunts Post: "A lot of treatment for Parkinson's at the moment is trial and error because it is made up of lots of different diseases.

"What we're trying to do is find a test that will help us diagnose Parkinson's. This study really offers hope for the future for those with the disease and we need people in Cambridgeshire to volunteer to help us make our vision for a cure a reality."

The project aims to develop biomarkers. These are indicators in the blood that enable scientists to develop a simple test - like a blood test - to diagnose the disease.

The five-year study will also monitor symptoms of Parkinson's, such as tremors, movement problems, anxiety, memory lapses and digestion problems.

Director of Research and Innovation at Parkinson's UK, Dr Kieran Breen, said: "The research landscape into Parkinson's has really moved in the last five years, but we still have a long way to go. It's like a jigsaw - the pieces are gradually falling into place and studies like Tracking Parkinson's could make a huge difference and ultimately help us find a cure."

There are about 127,000 people in the UK with Parkinson's.

INFORMATION: To find out more about how to take part in Tracking Parkinson's call the freephone helpline on 0808 800 0303 or visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/tracking