Parkinson’s Disease Breakthrough

University of Auckland scientists have made a breakthrough in potential treatments for the debilitating Parkinson’s disease by identifying how it spreads in the brain.

The scientists said they had the first strong evidence that the progressive neurodegenerative condition spread through pathological proteins, known as Lewy bodies, moving from cell to cell.

“Here we have the first proof in cell culture of the mechanism controlling the spread,” research leader associate professor Maurice Curtis said.

“The implication is that if there is a spread of the Lewy bodies in the brain then the spread could be stopped early on,” Curtis said.

“This new mechanism of pathology spread provides us with new targets to go after for development of Parkinson’s disease treatments,” he said.

“The traditional way of thinking about Parkinson’s was that there was a susceptible area in the brain and if you could fix that area then the next most susceptible area would soon be affected. But if the Parkinson’s disease pathology spreads then it may be possible to stop it in its tracks.”

Parkinson’s disease is relatively common, according to Parkinson’s New Zealand.

About one in 500 people have the condition, and it becomes more common with older age groups, with an estimated 1 per cent of people above the age of 60 having the condition.

Original article by Xinhua, February 24, 2017.

Tags: Auckland  Lewy bodies  Maurice Curtis  Parkinson's Disease  University of Auckland  Xinhua  

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