A Promising Target For Developing Treatments Against Parkinson’s Disease
Posted Aug 24 2010 11:10am
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have shown that using specific drugs can protect nerve cells in mice from the lethal effects of Parkinson’s disease. The researchers’ findings are published in the August 22 issue of Nature Medicine.
The newly discovered drugs block a protein that, when altered in people, leads to Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease causes deterioration of the nervous system that leads to tremors and problems with muscle movement and coordination. There is no proven protective treatment yet. Only recently have genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease been identified that have the potential to be used for developing targeted therapies for patients with the disease.
The protein LRRK2 (pronounced lark 2) is overactive in some Parkinson’s disease patients and causes nerve cells to shrivel up and die. Why exactly overactive LRRK2 is toxic and leads to Parkinson’s disease is still unknown.