Research published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry suggests that a newly designed molecule, if developed into a drug, could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

Because deposition of α-synuclein into Lewy bodies is considered a causative agent in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s, researchers from the University of Bath developed a 10 amino-acid peptide molecule via screening a library of peptides based on the region of α-synuclein that is mutated in patients with early onset Parkinson’s. The molecule stopped α-synuclein clumping in living cells in this study, which is the first to assess this part of the α-synuclein protein as a potential drug target.

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Next steps for the research team include testing the peptide in mammalian neurone cells; if this is successful, the authors hope to initiate the development of a drug utilizing this molecule for use in humans to slow or stop the progression of Parkinson’s.

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