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University of Haifa has identified processes that may help prevent the spread of Parkinson’s disease

New Israeli Research Could Halt Advancement of Parkinson’s Disease

A new study conducted by the University of Haifa has identified processes that may help prevent the spread of Parkinson’s disease. The study, published in the prestigious journal NJP Parkinson’s Disease, has for the first time identified neural processes that are common to various different types of the disease.

The processes are related to the ability of cells to connect to the extracellular matrix and their capacity to create new synapses. Thanks to the use of the innovative Sendai Reprogramming technique, the researchers were able to show for the first time that even in sporadic Parkinson's patients for which no animal model has yet been developed, these processes are also impaired.

Parkinson’s patients suffer from massive loss of nerve cells in the area of the brain known as the Substantia nigra, which is packed with dopaminergic neurons. Dopamine is required in the process of transfer of messages between brain cells and plays a key role in the ability to perform motor actions properly. One of the problems in the research – and development of drugs – is the fact that only 15 percent of Parkinson’s cases are caused by known genetic factors, while 85 percent are defined as “sporadic.” Accordingly, it is only possible to create a model for the disease in animals relating to those 15 percent of the cases.

“Most of the current studies were undertaken on a small number of familiar Parkinson’s mutations caused by genetic factors since it is not possible to create models for sporadic forms of the disease. Thanks to the ability to create induced pluripotent stem cells for patients with “sporadic” disease, we managed to show for the first time the presence of impaired neural and cellular mechanisms in a similar manner across all the types of disease we examined,” explained the study’s author Dr. Shani Stern, a senior lecturer at the University’s Sagol Department of Neurobiology. (INN / VFI News)

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