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Discovery 'could aid Parkinson's patients'

5th July 2007

Researchers have found a novel neurotrophic factor which could help protect against the degeneration of neurons linked to Parkinson's disease.

Scientists at the University of Helsinki have claimed that the conserved dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) could both prevent damage to dopamine nerves in the brain and mend those already harmed.

Featured in Nature, the study stated that CDNF could have significant potential for future developments in treatments for the disorder as a neurorestorative therapy.

The experts reached their conclusions after conducting studies on rats which had been injected with CDNF and received a neurotoxin to simulate the effects on the brain of Parkinson's.

A single dose of the factor protected against dopamine degeneration and normalised some of the mobility problems of the rats.

Research driven pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim has developed its Mirapexin drug, which works by copying the activity of dopamine, for treating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.