How to recognise and treat Parkinson’s disease – and other disorders

A new drug to treat Parkinsonism has been developed by scientists from the University of Adelaide.

Key points:The drug is the first of its kind to target a protein known as PD-L1The drug could lead to the creation of new treatments for people with Parkinson’sA new gene-editing tool could be created to fix Parkinson’s genetic disordersResearchers believe the drug could be used as an alternative to current therapies for people suffering from Parkinson’sThe study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, was carried out by researchers from the Adelaide Parkinson’s Disease Centre and University of Queensland’s Department of Neurobiology and Psychiatry.

“The aim of this study was to identify a protein called PD-1, which is a protein that plays a key role in regulating dopamine function in the brain,” Dr Andrew Peevers, from the Department of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at the University, said.

“It has been known for some time that this protein can be modified in order to regulate its function in response to stress.”

Our current research indicates that it is a new therapeutic target for Parkinson’s and other brain disorders.

“As we are only beginning to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases, it is important to consider their possible potential for novel treatments, and this is where our current research will be helpful.”

Dr Peeivers said it was a long journey ahead before scientists were able to create a cure for Parkinsonism, but the next stage was to create new therapies to help patients.

“There are still several years before we can fully understand Parkinson’s pathology, but this work opens the door to a potential new therapeutic approach to Parkinson’s patients, and we have developed a gene-edited tool that could be adapted to target PD-l1,” Dr Peegers said.

The new drug could potentially be used in Parkinson’s treatment.

“This could be the first step in the next phase in which we develop a gene therapy that could target PDL1 and allow for the creation and manipulation of new therapeutic targets,” he said.

Dr Peesivers said the research had also identified new potential genetic mutations that could lead people to develop PD-related disorders.”[We] found a gene mutation in PDL that could result in Parkinsonism and this could be a potential cause of that disease,” he explained.

“We found a mutation in the gene that has been linked to a very low-grade form of Parkinsonism called the BOLD pathway, which means it affects the dopamine pathway in the limbic system.”

Dr Chris Lachlan, from Department of Neurology and Pharmacology at the Queensland University of Technology, said Parkinson’s researchers had been working on a new drug that could potentially treat people with PD-linked disorders.

He said the study showed that PDL could be targeted to treat other neurological disorders.

Dr Lachl said he believed PD-dependent disorders were the biggest challenge facing the medical field.

“I think PD-associated disorders are the biggest obstacle for medical researchers because we don’t know how they are related, we don�t know how many of them there are, we just don�s not quite sure,” he told AAP.

“So it will be a huge challenge in the future to understand PD-diseases in detail.”

Dr Lachel said it would be vital to develop new drugs to treat PD-DADT-linked Parkinsonism.

“Right now, we know very little about the molecular pathways that cause PD-ADT,” he noted.

“What we know is that PD-induced dopamine release occurs via several different pathways.”

For example, PD-LD1 has been shown to induce a release of dopamine in the substantia nigra, and a similar pathway is involved in Parkinson�s disease.

“But this is very early in the research.”

More importantly, we have a very limited understanding of the genetic changes that may be involved in PD-TDD.

“If we can understand these pathways better, we can potentially develop a better therapeutic approach.”