27 Jun 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have published a study detailing how Parkinson's disease spreads through the brain. Experiments in rat models uncover a process previously used to explain mad cow disease, in which misfolded proteins travel from sick to healthy cells.
"A major unmet medical need is a therapy that slows disease progression," said Dr Patrik Brundin, Jay Van Andel Endowed Chair in Parkinson's Research at Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), head of the Neuronal Survival Unit at Lund University and senior author of the study. "We aim to better understand how Parkinson's pathology progresses and thereby uncover novel molecular targets for disease-modifying treatments."
Previous research demonstrates that a misfolded protein gradually appears in healthy neurons transplanted to the brains of Parkinson's patients.
"This is a cellular process likely to lead to the disease process as Parkinson's progresses, and it spreads to an increasing number of brain regions as the patient gets sicker," said Dr Elodie Angot, Lund University's Neuronal Survival Unit, and lead author of the study.