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UCLA researchers report promising Parkinson’s disease research

by Robin Wulffson, MD, LA Health Examiner, www.examiner.com

UCLA researchers have reported that they have stopped the progression of Parkinson’s disease for the first time in an animal model. They have dubbed the new compound that they developed as a molecular “tweezer” and report that it could lead to a cure for diseases that affect the brain, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes. The results of their study were published online on March 1 in the journal Neurotherapeutics.

Millions of individuals suffer from Parkinson’s disease, which is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects muscular movement and control. Although several therapies have been developed to treat the disorder, none actually slow its progression. The molecular “tweezer” breaks down the toxic accumulation in the brain of a type of protein aggregation, implicated in Parkinson’s disease, known as α-synuclein. The protein has been found to be common to all patients with Parkinson’s disease; it is thought to produce the disease by binding together in toxic clumps that destroy neurons in the brain. The researchers note that there are currently more than 30 diseases with no cure, which are caused by various protein accumulations that are toxic to the brain and/or other organs.

UCLA professor of neurology Jeff Bronstein, UCLA associate professor of neurology Gal Bitan, and colleagues noted that their molecular tweezer blocked α-synuclein aggregates from forming in a living animal model; furthermore, it countered the aggregates’ toxicity and reversed aggregates in the brain that had already formed. Of importance, this process occurred without disrupting normal brain function. Continue reading on Examiner.com

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