New research suggests it may be possible to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease using a man-made peptide that stops the formation of faulty protein fibrils that kill the brain cells that produce dopamine.
Estimates suggest up to 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease — a progressive neurological disorder caused by the loss of brain cells that release dopamine, a chemical that is important for conveying messages that control movement.
The main reason behind the death of dopamine-producing cells in patients with Parkinson’s disease is thought to be a fault in a common cell protein called α-synuclein. When faulty, the protein forms the wrong shape and clumps into long toxic fibrils that stop the cells functioning properly.
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