Studies into the behaviour of a gene lined to Parkinson's Disease have shown that new drugs could regulate the gene and reduce the risk of extended cell damage.
Published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the research supports recent theories into the role of abnormal genes in the onset of the disease and expands on work looking at keeping brain cells alive.
Dr Curt Freed, co-author of the study, explained that dopamine cells are damaged in the brains of Parkinson's sufferers, preventing them from sending messages through to their body, but that manipulation of a certain gene could protect the dopamine cells.
"Our research shows how a genetic cause of Parkinson's disease works," Dr Curt said.
"We show how the normal function of the gene keeps dopamine cells from dying. If the gene is abnormal, these protective mechanisms cannot be brought into play."
Ongoing research into the causes of and possible treatments for Parkinson's Disease provide hope for sufferers, as researchers and scientists develop new theories which could bring new therapies.