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Scientists investigate link between melanoma and Parkinson's

Scientists investigate link between melanoma and Parkinson's
31st December 2012

US scientists have begun an investigation into what they believe is a link between Parkinson's disease and melanoma.

Researchers from the University of Arizona are set to use Nobel Prize-winning technology to investigate the connection between the two conditions, according to reporters at the Green Valley News.

Professor Scott Sherman said that although melanoma and Parkinson's are two diseases "that you think would have nothing to do with each other", there is one piece of evidence linking the two. Both conditions affect cells that are pigmented and Prof Sherman suggests that the presence of neuromelanin - often dismissed as an irrelevant byproduct - needs to be investigated.

Previous research into Parkinson's has been limited by the inability to perform brain biopsies on live patients.

However, the study is now possible because of the development of pluripotent stem cell technology, which recently won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It means that scientists can take a common skin sample and regress it until it reaches a pluripotent form - allowing it to be manipulated into any other type of cell.

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