New research leading to better management of Parkinson’s disease has been the hope of nearly 10 million people it affects worldwide.
A new study by the renown science research organization Gladstone Institutes was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), and offers new details learned about a key cellular protein that could lead to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Senior author Steven Finkbeiner (pictured above with Dr. Skibinski, the first author, in front of the robotic microscope) described a key cellular protein, Nrf2, as the most protective thing they have ever found against neurodegenerative diseases and could finally be the answer to treating these devastating conditions.
Neurodegenerative diseases are triggered by misbehaving proteins in the brain. The proteins misfold and accumulate in neurons, inflicting damage and eventually killing the cells. In the new study, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes used a different protein, Nrf2, in two models of Parkinson’s disease to restore levels of the disease-causing proteins to a normal, healthy range, thereby preventing cell death.
The Gladstone Institutes focuses on conditions with profound medical, economic, and social impact—unsolved diseases of the brain, the heart, and the immune system. Affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco, Gladstone is an independent, nonprofit life science research organization that uses visionary science and technology to overcome disease.
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