Proteins may slow Parkinson's progression

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The delivery of proteins into the brains of laboratory rats prevented the progressive degeneration of Parkinson's disease, according to a report in the September issue of Molecular Therapy.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles used a genetically engineered virus to deliver "Sonic Hedgehog" and "Gli-1" proteins into the rats' brains, which prevented the degeneration of nerve cells that cause Parkinson's. The two proteins are involved in early brain development but not present in the adult brain.

The scientists say these findings could help in the development of treating humans with an advanced form of the disease.

This would be the first treatment to stop the progressive generation of Parkinson's disease. Current drugs can help manage symptoms but cannot stop or slow the disease's progression.