Researchers from the University of Ottawa in Canada are investigating the link between Parkinson's, Crohn's disease, and leprosy, since they believe the three diseases share a genetic link, the LRRK2 gene, which is thought to be a common bond. The university's Brain and Mind Research Institute was awarded a five-year $2.5 million grant by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to develop the study.
People who carry the LRRK2 gene are more predisposed to develop Parkinson's, and the researchers recently discovered that mutations on the same gene can cause either leprosy or Crohn's disease. Despite the fact that the three diseases present different symptoms and are not part of the same disease family, Ottawa scientists believe that may be a genetic bond between the diseases.
Dr. David Park, one of the lead researchers, along with Dr. Michael Schlossmacher, explained to Lucy Scholey from Metro News Canada that the 20,000 genes in the human body all act in complex ways. “In this case, (LRRK2) might actually act in a common mechanism, which is the immune function regulation. The immune system is important in multiple disease states.”During the five-year project, research