Science Daily's published press release from Thomas Jefferson University has the most detail of the reports I've seen so far.
According to Dr. Oshinsky and Jia Luo, M.D., research associate at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, in Parkinson's, a portion of the brain called the subthalamic nucleus is overactive. These cells produce glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter, or chemical message carrier, into another region called the substantia nigra, which is important for the coordination of movement and where the brain chemical dopamine is made. Parkinson's is caused by the deterioration of dopamine-producing nerve cells.
The researchers - including scientists from Jefferson, the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Cornell University - took their cues from work with deep brain stimulation, where brain cells in the subthalamic nucleus are stimulated at a high frequency as a treatment for late-stage Parkinson's. This treatment prevents overactivity in the substantia nigra.
The team, led by Matthew During, M.D., formerly of Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and now at the University of Auckland, decided that instead of turning off the neurons in the subthalamic nucleus, they would attempt to change the neurons from excitatory to inhibitory, which would then contain the inhibitory chemical messenger GABA.
The team used an adeno-associated virus to carry the gene for an enzyme, glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), into brain cells in rats that were made Parkinsonian. They saw a dramatic difference in the behavior and physiology of the Parkinsonian rats treated with the GAD-carrying virus compared to the Parkinsonian rats that did not receive the treatment.
Three weeks after the gene transfer, Dr. Luo made Parkinson's lesions on one side of the brains of rats that had the gene therapy. The researchers then performed various behavioral tests to see if the gene therapy could protect against the development of classic Parkinson's symptoms. One test showed that nearly 70 percent of the animals with Parkinson's lesions and the GAD gene therapy had no Parkinson's symptoms when they received chemicals that mimicked dopamine in the brain. Normally, animals with Parkinson's are hypersensitive to dopamine, and actually respond to it by running around in circles over and over. The test result was a "very strong behavioral measure showing this is a good treatment for Parkinson's," Dr. Oshinsky says.
If anyone wants to find Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia PA then click here for contact information. Though possibly the Department of Neurology might be what you are looking for. Jefferson's Farber Institute for Neurosciences looks like it might be the place for Parkinson's treatment.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2002 October 13 01:11 PM Biotech Therapies|