Dopamine-deficient worm may hold the key to identifying drugs to treat Parkinson's disease, according to a study at the University of Texas.
Based upon a test that observes the difficulty parkinsonian C.elegans worms have in switching from swimming to crawling when out of water, researchers believe that the worms will be able to evaluate as many as 1,000 drugs per year.
With funding, this may increase to one million drug tests annually.
Professor Pierce-Shimomura, lead researcher on the study, stated: "These worms are so simple to work with, we can do these drug screens at massive scale.
"Right now the more hands we have, the more targets we can test."
Studying worms to test motor transition drugs has long been observed in Parkinson's research.
C. elegans are the most pared down animal that shares essential feature of human biology from embryogenesis to aging.
Consequently, they are vital for the study of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
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