Applied Parkinson’s Research Group

The Applied Parkinson’s Research Group, led by Dr Camille Carroll, oversees the clinical trials and studies aimed at improving the lives of those with Parkinson’s through neuroprotective interventions, digital innovation for care and research and genetic aspects of Parkinson’s.

Intrinsic to their work is the person-centred care approach. Dr Carroll and her team collaborate with an engaged and eternally optimistic community of Parkinson’s patients. Engaging with them from the very beginning, they provide research and health interventions that challenge the ‘status quo’ bio-medical approach to treating the illness and place as much control and influence over decisions on health and care in the hands of patients, care partners and the community. These co-designed pathways provide choice to patients and treatments that are sustainable in the long-run.

Dr Camille Carroll has overseen the development of a Parkinson’s diseases (PD) DNA bank and a regional PD clinical research register, as well as leading the development of the Parkinson’s disease service in Plymouth – the winner of the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Award.

Neuroprotective trials and trial design

PD-STAT – clinical trial using statins as a new treatment for Parkinson’s

Chief Investigator: Dr Camille Carroll
Funded by the University of Plymouth, JP Moulton Trust and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust

Dr Carroll and her team are investigating the use of Simvastatin – a statin typically used as a cholesterol lowering drug – as a neuroprotective treatment that could alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

The trial is run out of the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit at the University of Plymouth with the support of the NIHR Clinical Research Network for the South West Peninsula. The double-blind placebo-controlled study involves 235 participants from 23 participating hospitals across the UK, including University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust.

Find out more.

Improving clinical trial design – multi-arm, multi-stage (MAMS)

Researcher: Dr Marie-Louise Zessler
Funded by The Cure Parkinson’s Trust

Dr Zessler is exploring adaptive approaches such as the multi-arm multi-stage (MAMS) for clinical trial design. 

These efforts include a Delphi study to gain insights into the importance of clinical trial design features in disease-modifying trials for Parkinson’s.

Digital innovation for care and research

Non-motor symptom app – NMS Assist

Researchers: Dr Terry Gorst, Dr Camille Carroll
Funded by Plymouth Hospitals Charitable Foundation and the Hoover Foundation

Researchers are working to develop a non-motor symptom app for smartphones, tablets and PCs. In collaboration with Professor Ray Chaudhuri, Professor of Neurology/Movement Disorders at King's College Hospital and King's College London who created NMS Quest, NMS Assist will be a mobile version that aims to provide remote monitoring of non-motor symptoms. It triggers support from care partners and information on self-management. The app will also be used by care partners so that their voice can be heard, which can provide insight on non-motor issues that might not be recognised or reported by the patient themselves.

Join Parkinson’s Research (JPR)

Researchers: Dr Terry Gorst, Dr Stephen Mullin
Funded by unrestricted grants from Pfizer and Roche

A web-based portal is being developed to allow matching of people with Parkinson’s to research opportunities. 

A national resource, it will facilitate inclusivity in research opportunity, and efficient patient identification and recruitment for clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease and related conditions across the UK.

Home Based Parkinson’s Care

Researchers: Dr Camille Carroll, Dr Terry Gorst
Funded by a Health Foundation Innovation for Improvement grant

Working with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Dr Carroll and her team are implementing a new Parkinson’s service that will allow an alternative way of managing Parkinson’s. In collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, Parkinson’s patients, their families and healthcare teams, new resources have been designed to support self-management. This includes a new care pathway that moves away from routine review, and instead educated patients when to request a triggered contact.

The pathway includes the use of the Personal Kinetigraph (PKG®) wrist-worn device that monitors movement symptoms of Parkinson’s enabling patients and their care team to identify and implement any required changes to therapy.  

Find out more.

Genetic aspects of Parkinson’s

Investigating glucocerebrosidase (GBA)

Researchers: Dr Stephen Mullin, Jemma Inches
Funded by The Cure Parkinson’s Trust

Dr Mullin leads on a phase II clinical trial of ambroxol, a putative neuroprotective and small molecular chaperone of the glucocerebrosidase enzyme (GCase). 

He also leads an internet-based cohort study – Rapsodi – aiming to provide a platform for identifying GBA carriers to allow their targeted enrolment in neuroprotective trials. 

The ultimate of this study is to provide a cost-effective platform for targeting of future neuroprotective compounds.

Applied Parkinson's Research Group

External collaborators

  • A Professor Anette Schrag, Professor of Clinical Neurosciences, UCL
  • A Dr Thomas Foltynie, Consultant Neurologist and Senior Lecturer, UCL
  • A Dr Suzanne Reeves, Clinical Senior Lecturer, UCL
  • A Professor Tony Schapira, Professor of Neurological Science, UCL
  • A Dr Alan Whone, Consultant Senior Lecturer in Movement Disorder, University of Bristol
  • A Dr Joe Langley, Senior Research Fellow in Healthcare Innovation, Sheffield Hallam University

To collaborate with the Applied Parkinson's Research Group, please contact Dr Camille Carroll, Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant Neurologist: camille.carroll@plymouth.ac.uk

The doctor won’t see you now: the role of technology to support participatory health care – Dr Terry Gorst

Read Dr Terry Gorst's take on the role of technology to support participatory health care as seen in Times Higher Education. Dr Gorst discusses the Home Based Parkinson's Care project in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, offering technology and empowerment of patients, care partners and families as one of the solutions to decrease the pressure on stretched health services and provide effective care pathways for individuals with Parkinson's. 

Read the full article

Part of The Old Normal: Our Future Health series

Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

From basic research discovering the causes of disease, through to evaluating novel ways of delivering care to the most vulnerable people in society, our thriving community conducts adventurous world-leading research

Transformation in life course, ageing, methodologies, eHealth, technology and interventions in health, social care, lifestyle and wellbeing.

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