Parkinson’s Disease – Urgent Need For Better Treatments

This article is a quick and easy summary of an email we received from Transpharmation (See Website), written by the Global Chief Scientific Officer himself, Guy Higgins PhD.
They’re talking about the urgent need for better treatments for Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease is a prevalent neurological condition, affecting millions of people worldwide. While current therapies address some symptoms, there is a pressing need for more effective treatments that can improve quality of life and slow down or halt disease progression. In this article, we will explore the significance of Parkinson’s Disease, the limitations of existing treatments, and the potential for new discoveries in the field.

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most common neurological disorders, with over 6 million individuals affected globally. Its symptoms include motor impairments, such as tremors, muscle rigidity, and difficulty with movement. The disease is characterised by the progressive degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain.

Current Limitations

The available treatments for Parkinson’s Disease mainly focus on managing symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause. While these therapies provide temporary relief, they do not significantly impact disease progression or enhance overall quality of life. Consequently, researchers and healthcare professionals are actively seeking new and improved treatments.

The Importance of Animal Models

Animal models play a vital role in the discovery and development of therapeutic interventions. To accurately represent Parkinson’s Disease in animal models, high construct validity is necessary. Several models exist, including genetic models based on Parkinson’s Disease-associated genes and experimental models utilising toxins like rotenone.

The Rotenone Model

Rotenone, an industrial pesticide, has been found to induce a Parkinson-like condition by inhibiting mitochondrial function in the central nervous system. Transpharmation, a research organisation, has extensively worked on the rotenone model, building upon seminal studies from the Greenamyre lab. This model involves the administration of rotenone to animals over a period of time.

Expanding Research Capabilities

Through a merger with Intervivo Solutions, Transpharmation has expanded its resources and evaluation capabilities. They have incorporated aspects of histological and biomarker changes into their assessments, allowing for a more comprehensive analysis of the rotenone model. This multi-level approach assesses behavioural changes, histological alterations, and biomarker variations, providing a more comprehensive understanding of potential treatment effects.

Refining Existing Models

Recognizing the potential role of both genetic vulnerability and environmental factors in Parkinson’s Disease, Transpharmation has studied the “double hit” hypothesis using genetically modified rats (Park7 KO and Pink1 KO) and rotenone administration. This combination represents a genetic and environmental risk, providing valuable insights into the disease’s mechanisms.

Towards Better Treatments

With over 600 recognized neurological diseases and various models available, Transpharmation is committed to studying the potential of new chemical entities (NCEs) in various preclinical models. By evaluating their impact on behavioural, histological, and biomarker levels, researchers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of NCEs’ disease-modifying potential in Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological conditions.

The urgent need for better treatments for Parkinson’s Disease has prompted researchers to explore new avenues of discovery. Animal models, such as the rotenone model, have provided valuable insights into the disease’s mechanisms. With advancements in evaluation techniques and the refinement of existing models, there is hope for the development of more effective therapies that can improve the lives of individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurological disorders.

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