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Your Weekly News Update for the Week of 7.8.19

Monday July 08, 2019
UAB Study Identifies Promising Target for Parkinson’s
Alabama Newscenter
There has been major debate how alpha-synuclein is most responsible for Parkinson's: “Our findings indicate that the form most toxic to neurons was a structure referred to as beta-sheet fibrillar fragments,” researcher Volpicelli-Daley said.
“This is a form of alpha-synuclein that makes overlapping sheets of the protein, which subsequently develop into long filaments. The filaments can then break into smaller fragmented pieces...
All this suggests that beta-sheet fibrillar fragments specifically should be a target for development of therapeutic strategies, such as immunotherapy, that might reduce the formation and propagation of this form of alpha-synuclein. This strategy may work to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s and other disorders that involve alpha-synuclein, such as Lewy body dementia.”
Gene Therapy Used to Produce and Sustain
Dopamine in Brains of Primate Model of Parkinson’s
Parkinson's News Today
Direct delivery of two dopamine-synthesizing enzymes to the midbrain, using a safe and inactive form of an adenovirus, was able to effectively ease signs of motor difficulties in a primate model of Parkinson’s.
Published in the journal Brain, this study suggests that continuous dopamine production via a gene therapy approach may be a promising one-time treatment strategy for Parkinson’s patients, providing long-lasting improvement and lowering the chances of motor fluctuations and other side effects associated with oral dopaminergic medication.
Could this Newly Discovered Protein Help Treat Parkinson's?
Medical News Today
A new study in Journal of Molecular Biology has identified a protein able to reduce the aggregation of misfolded alpha-synuclein, a key factor in the development of Parkinson's. This new research has focused on the therapeutic potential of a protein called "HYPE," which, the investigators explain, is the only Fic protein present in humans. Fic proteins help decide whether a cell survives or dies when it encounters stress, characterized by the misfolding of the cell's proteins.
"We're in the early stages [of this research]," Mattoo shares, "but these results are giving us a new angle to look at potential therapeutics."
Seelos Therapeutics Acquires Rights for
Parkinson’s Gene Therapy Program
Parkinson's News Today
The pharmaceutical company Seelos Therapeutics has acquired the rights for a gene therapy program targeting the regulation of the SNCA gene, which provides instructions to make alpha-synuclein, a key player in the development of Parkinson’s. This research aims to use gene editing technology and fine-tune the SNCA gene; this would lower alpha-synuclein production, therefore reducing symptoms of Parkinson's.