In recent years, scientists have made important strides in developing drugs that help patients manage the symptoms of Parkinsons Disease – a chronic, progressive movement disorder affecting as many as one million Americans. But despite their effectiveness, the drugs dont stop Parkinsons disease from progressing, causing patients symptoms to eventually grow worse in spite of medication.
Now, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have found that two specific proteins – "Sonic Hedgehog" and "Gli-1" – delivered via a genetically engineered virus into the brains of laboratory rats, prevented the progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the brain that cause Parkinsons disease. The study, published in the September issue of the journal, Molecular Therapy, may lead to a new way to treat patients with advanced Parkinsons Disease.
"Our results establish, for the first time, that viral transfer of Sonic hedgehog and Gli-1 - two proteins that are involved in early brain development, but are no longer present in the adult brain – may provide a new strategy to prevent progressive degeneration of the nerve cells in the brain that cause Parkinsons disease," said Pedro Lowenstein, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and a Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at UCLA.
Kelli Hanley | EurekAlert!
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