A Common Liver Drug Could Be Key to Curing Parkinsons

The tragedy of Parkinsons, which progressively robs patients of their physical abilities, is that while certain drugs, therapies and devices can restore some quality of life, so far we havent found a way to stop brain cells from dying. Now, researchers in the UK and Norway have found a drug that could keep brain cells functioning normally — and its been used to treat liver disease for years.The research team, led by Sheffield Institute for Translational Neurosciences Dr. Oliver Bandmann, discovered that the drug ursodeoxycholic acid UDCA helps heal faulty mitochondria, the energy-providing cellular organ whose malfunction causes brain cell death. The drug, used to treat gallstones and some forms of cirrhosis, was found to be the most effective among 2,000 compounds tested on the mitochondria of skin cells from Parkinsons patients over five years. Since mitochondria function the same way in every type of cell, the finding holds big promise for preserving brain cell function.Since UDCA has been in use for many years, researchers can move directly to clinical trials to determine the drugs safety and optimum dosage in Parkinsons patients. And for the first time, researchers can point to compounds that tackle the cellular cause of the disease, rather than simply treating the symptoms as they appear. [The University of Sheffield via ScienceDaily]

via A Common Liver Drug Could Be Key to Curing Parkinsons.

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