Parkinson's breakthrough hailed
Published on 08 February 2012 12:30 PM
Scientists have revealed a possible breakthrough in the fight against Parkinson's Disease.
Experts in the US have made human brain cells that are an exact replica of genetically triggered examples of the condition.
This means that the ways in which the parkin gene mutates - causing Parkinson's in an estimated one in 10 patients with the disease. Through this study, treatments for the illness can also be put to the test, an avenue which has been blighted for years.
The team's Dr Jian Feng told Nature Communications: 'This is the first time that human dopamine neurons have ever been generated from Parkinson's disease patients with parkin mutations. Before this, we didn't even think about being able to study the disease in human neurons.The brain is so fully integrated. It's impossible to obtain live human neurons to study.'
New treatments aimed at preventing damage from occurring in the first place could now be tested out and developed, with studies already showing that putting a normal parkin gene into diseased neurons reverses the problem. Dr Michelle Gardner of Parkinson's UK said: 'Parkinson's UK funded research has already shown that parkin plays a key role in how Parkinson's develops in the brain nerve cells that die.'
Copyright Press Association 2012