AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017


New Treatment Strategy Could Cut Parkinson's Disease Off at the Pass

Drug already in clinical trials for other conditions slows disease progression in mice

Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have identified a protein that enables toxic natural aggregate to spread from cell to cell in a mammal’s brain – and a way to block that protein’s action. Their study in mice and cultured cells suggests that an immunotherapy already in clinical trials as a cancer therapy should also be tested as a way to slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease, the researchers say.

Ted Dawson, MD, PhD, director of the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the study’s leaders, says the new findings hinge on how aggregates of a-synuclein protein enter brain cells. Abnormal clumps of a-synuclein protein are found in autopsies of people with Parkinson’s disease and are thought to cause the death of dopamine-producing brain cells.

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Winter Clinics for Cranial and Spinal Surgery
Feb. 25, 2018 - Mar. 1, 2018; Snowmass Village, Colo.

69th Southern Neurosurgical Society Annual Meeting
Feb. 28, 2018 - Mar. 3, 2018; San Juan, PR

Second International Brain Mapping Course
April 26-27, 2018; New Orleans

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