PerspectiveNEURODEGENERATION

Cancer enzyme affects Parkinson's disease

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Science  02 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6414, pp. 521-522
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav3986

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Summary

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by rigidity, tremor, and slowness of movement, as well as a wide range of debilitating nonmotor symptoms (1). The neuropathology is characterized by loss of midbrain dopamine–producing neurons and the occurrence of intraneuronal protein aggregates, largely comprising the protein α-synuclein, that are distributed widely throughout the nervous system. Current treatments are focused on alleviating the impaired movement, and there is no therapy that slows PD progression. With almost 7 million patients worldwide, finding ways to prevent long-term neurodegeneration in PD and slow disease progression are vital goals. On page 557 of this issue, Kam et al. (2) describe a new molecular pathway that could explain why α-synuclein aggregates form in PD. Moreover, their findings suggest a pharmacological approach to slowing PD progression.