Scientists at the MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics (CDBG) and the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) at the University of Sheffield have discovered a new protein which could be key in the fight against Parkinson’s.
Slowing the spread
The research revealed that blocking a protein, known as Tigar, could save nerve cells which are usually lost as Parkinson’s develops – potentially halting the spread of the disease. Dr Oliver Bandmann and his team used zebrafish with a mutation in a gene known as PINK1 for the study. The gene is thought to be linked to Parkinson’s in humans, and research showed that Tigar was overactive in the zebrafish studied, which suggests it could be causing nerve cell death, triggering the onset of the disease.
Potential new treatments
Dr Bandmann said, “If the next steps of our research go well, and we are right about Tigar, this could help us to develop treatments for people with Parkinson’s that might at least help to slow down the progression of the disease – which would be a huge breakthrough.”
The causes of Parkinson’s are still unknown, and one person in the UK is diagnosed with the condition every hour. Claire Bale of Parkinson’s UK commented, “This new research holds real promise in helping to slow down or even stop the spread of Parkinson’s. We await the results of Dr Bandmann’s research with much anticipation.”