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Antibiotic May Stave Off Parkinson's

Rifampicin shows promise as potential treatment

MONDAY, Nov. 29, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The antibiotic rifampicin showS promise as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, according to results of test tube research by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

The findings showed that rifampicin, which is currently used to treat tuberculosis and leprosy, can prevent formation of protein fibrils associated with the death of brain cells in Parkinson's patients. The antibiotic also dissolved existing fibrils.

The study appears in the November issue of Chemistry and Biology.

"Clearly, more work is needed to determine if this would work therapeutically, but if it does it would probably be most useful as a prophylactic therapy used in the early stages of the disease before there is general neurological damage," study author Anthony Fink, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, said in a prepared statement.

The researchers are currently doing studies with mice and cell cultures to determine if rifampicin can prevent fibril formation in living cells.

More information

We Move has more about Parkinson's disease.

SOURCE: University of California, Santa Cruz, news release, Nov. 29, 2004
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