Proteins May Treat Parkinson's
Rat study shows gene therapy prevented degeneration of nerve cells in brain
WEDNESDAY, Sept. 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Using a genetically engineered virus to deliver two proteins into the brains of laboratory rats prevented the progressive degeneration of nerve cells that cause Parkinson's disease.
Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles report the results in the September issue of Molecular Therapy.
This research into the delivery of the "Sonic Hedgehog" and "Gli-1" proteins may help in the development of a treatment for people with advanced Parkinson's disease, the scientists said.
"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 Parkinson's disease," Dr. Pedro Lowenstein, director of the Gene Therapeutic Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai, said in a prepared statement.
Current drugs can help manage symptoms of Parkinson's disease but can't stop or slow its progression.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about Parkinson's disease.