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Discovery could 'protect brain cells from Parkinson's'

Discovery could 'protect brain cells from Parkinson's'
18th August 2009

A drug more commonly dished out to transplant patients may be a good way at protecting brain cells from "rogue" genes which can lead to Parkinson's disease, it is said.

Alex Whitworth and the team, based at the University of Sheffield, said that while rapamycin is no "wonder drug" for the treatment of the condition, the study proves that animal and human models that were used may be particularly valuable in discovering new drugs for directly treating the condition.

Dr Kieran Breen, who funded the work in his capacity as the director of research and development at the Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS), explained: "It's early days yet, and there's a great deal of work to be done before we will know if these findings can be applied to all forms of Parkinson's.

"But the discovery of this pathway may be the key to developing new drugs that could slow or even stop the progressive loss of nerve cells in the brain."

In its capacity as a charitable force, the PDS announced last week that it is to donate £380,000 to the University of Edinburgh to understand the role of nerve cells in the progression of the condition.

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