MSA Researcher bringing hope to a community

Around 3,000 people in Australia currently live with the rare Parkinsonian condition called Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA), which affects movement, breathing, blood pressure and other body functions.

Professor David Finkelstein, Head of the Parkinson’s Disease Laboratory, has been working closely with people living with MSA and their families for over 10 years to understand the biological mechanisms underlying the condition.

“I want my research and the work we are continuing to do in MSA to provide hope for people living with Multiple System Atrophy,” said Prof Finkelstein.

“We are constantly making progress in learning more about this rare disorder and are working hard to develop disease disease modifying treatments,” he added.

Professor Finkelstein believes that a recent study from his team can help open new pathways to investigate and advance treatment options where there are none currently available.

The research demonstrates that elevated brain iron levels in MSA animal models are related to the pathology of the disease.

In this work, Professor Finkelstein and his team were able to successfully target and reduce brain iron levels using a known iron-lowering compound, which slowed neurodegeneration, reduced abnormal pathology and prevented MSA symptoms from progressing.

“Scientists have often queried the role of iron in disease progression and the question on whether a reduction in iron levels could help improve disease symptoms in people has remained unanswered,” said Professor Finkelstein.

“Our results give us assurance that we’re on the right track to answer these questions, laying the foundations to improve the lives of people who experience this challenging disease and accelerating trials of new treatments. It is a message of hope for those living with MSA.”

Professor David Finkelstein