Senior author Kwang-Soo Kim and his team focused on receptor Nurr1, a brain protein that protects dopamine cells in two ways: 1) it is essential in the development and maintenance of dopamine cells; and 2) it protects the dopamine cells from inflammation and death.
For the study, the team tested 1,000 drugs that were already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and discovered two antimalaria drugsâchloroquine and amodiaquineâgive increased protection to Nurr1.
Testing the two drugs in mice with Parkinsonâs-like symptoms, researchers discovered that the ratsâ cognitive control improved and showed little to no signs of dyskinesia, a common side effect of current Parkinsonâs drugs.
The results suggest there is proof that small molecules that target Nurr1 have the ability to be used to protect the brain against Parkinsonâs disease. The study also suggests that existing drugs can be repurposed and redesigned to effectively treat alternative diseases.
About 10 million people worldwide live with Parkinsonâs disease, which is a neurological disorder prevalent in those of middle age or older. As the disease progresses, patients gradually lose their cognitive abilities, eventually making it difficult or impossible to perform basic tasks and functions.
Source for Todayâs Article:
Paddock, C., âParkinsonâs disease may be treatable with antimalaria drugs,â Medical News Today web site, July 17, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/296919.php.