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Antibiotic off-switch discovered for Parkinson's disease

Antibiotic off-switch discovered for Parkinson's disease
15th September 2009

The University of Florida has made a major discovery for Parkinson's disease, publishing its results in this month's issue of journal Molecular Therapy.

It was discovered that doxycycline, an antibiotic used in small doses to treat the likes of acne, could help people control the effects of genes used for the therapy of Parkinson's disease.

Scientists explained that Parkinson's disease causes a loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain where movement is controlled and researchers use a harmless virus to transfer therapeutic genes into the nerve cells to combat it, though they have side effects - ones which are mitigated by the new discovery.

Director of research and development at the Parkinson's Disease Society Dr Kieran Breen said: "However, as gene therapy is in the very early stages of development, its safety and effectiveness needs to be tested in clinical trials with humans and may take a number of years before it's available to treat people with Parkinson's."

According to the Parkinson's Disease Society, symptoms first appear in the average person when they are over the age of 50.

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