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Researchers make Parkinson's breakthrough

Researchers make Parkinson's breakthrough
14th November 2014

Scientists in Dublin have gained a better understanding of how the protein Parkin works in the development of Parkinson's disease (PD).

While experts knew that the mutation of this protein brought about the early onset of the neurological condition, they didn't understand much about its role within cells.

However, research led by Professor Seamus Martin showed that when Parkins were no longer able to clear away sick nerve cells, this brought about problems. These old cells are allowed to build up, meaning newer ones struggle to form, which could be a reason why PD develops. 

Professor Martin from Trinity College Dublin said the findings were "surprising" and said that instead of the previous assumption that Parkin worked "as a brake on cell death within nerve cells", its role is "to weed out injured and sick nerve cells".

The full findings of this research can be viewed in the journal Cell Reports. 

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