Parkinson's Disease Research
(Also Known As: Parkinsons Disease Research, Parkinson’s Research, Shaking Palsy Research, Paralysis Agitans Research)
(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)
Parkinson’s disease related research
Research studies for gene therapy are all currently on-going. The process involves utilizing a non-infectious virus to transport a gene into the subthalamic nucleus (STN). The gene used results in the production of an enzyme called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), which in turn catalyses the production of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which consequently acts as a direct inhibitor on the overactive cells in the STN. GDNF therapy involves the infusion of GDNF (glial-derived neurotrophic factor) directly into the basal ganglia through surgically implanted catheters. Passing through a cascade of biochemical reactions, GDNF then stimulates the formation of L-dopa. Furthermore, implantation of genetically engineered stem cells is being utilized to produce dopamine or stem cells that proliferate into dopamine-producing cells. However, the aforementioned could not be considered as cures because they do not directly deal with the considerable loss of activity of the dopaminergic neurons. Additionally, the preliminary results have been substandard with patients still retaining their drugs and symptoms.
Neuroprotective treatments are one of the most researched modes of PD treatment, yet are still under extensive clinical study. These neuroprotective agents, as the name implies, could protect neurons from cell death caused by diseases which results in a slower progression of disease itself.
Agents currently under investigation as neuroprotective agents include:
anti-apoptotic drugs (CEP 1347 and CTCT346)
Clinically evaluated neuroprotective agents:
monoamine oxidase B inhibitors, selegiline, and rasagiline
complex I mitochondrial fortifier coenzyme Q10
alpha6beta2 nAChR 16
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