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Scientists Test Peptide Therapy for Parkinson's Disease in Monkeys

Once patients are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, there is no drug

available to halt its progression. Scientists have shown that a

peptide is capable of halting the progression of Parkinson's disease

in monkeys.

CHICAGO, IL, June 15, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Peptide therapy may

prevent Parkinson's disease from progressing further. Scientists at

the Rush University Medical Center (Chicago) have used a peptide in

monkeys with Parkinson's disease and found that the peptide

successfully reverses locomotor, biochemical, cellular, and anatomical

changes caused by the disease. Results of the study were published in

the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, June 2012.

"The monkey model of PD is considered as the best available model for

human PD as humans and monkeys apparently share about 93% of their

genes" said Kalipada Pahan, PhD, Professor of Neurological sciences,

Biochemistry and Pharmacology at the Rush University Medical Center.

"Understanding how the disease works is important to developing

effective drugs that protect the brain and stop the progression of

PD," Dr. Pahan said. The authors have shown that one protein called

NF-kB is increased in the midbrain of parkinsonian monkeys.

In a preclinical setting, rhesus monkeys with established PD symptoms

received the peptide via intramuscular injection. "Interestingly, this

peptide enters into the brain and blocks NF-kB and other associated

toxic molecules, protects neurons, normalizes neurotransmitter, and

improves motor functions in monkeys with PD," Dr. Pahan said.

Available PD treatment (e.g. levodopa) is often associated with a

number of side effects and unsatisfactory outcomes. "We did not

observe any drug related side effects (e.g. hair loss, untoward

infection, hyperkinesias, psychological disturbance, vomiting,

diarrhea etc) after peptide treatment," Dr. Pahan said.

This research was supported by grants from Michael J. Fox Foundation

for Parkinson's Research and National Institutes of Health. "Now we

need to translate this finding to the clinic and test this peptide in

patients with PD. If these results can be replicated in PD patients,

it would be a remarkable advance in the treatment of this devastating

movement disease," Dr. Pahan said.

Parkinson's is a slowly progressive disease that affects a small area

within the mid-brain known as the substantia nigra. Gradual

degeneration of these cells causes a reduction in a vital chemical

neurotransmitter, dopamine. The decrease in dopamine is responsible

for the development of PD.

Parkinson's disease affects about 1.2 million patients in the United

States and Canada. Although 15 percent of patients are diagnosed

before age 50, it is generally considered a disease that targets older

adults, affecting one of every 100 persons over the age of 60.

Website: http://www.pahanlab.com

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/755307#ixzz1z8kSYhLI

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