UA scientists have major breakthrough in Parkinson's disease tre - WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

UA scientists have major breakthrough in Parkinson's disease treatment

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TUSCALOOSA, AL -

Researchers at the University of Alabama have made a breakthrough in the treatment Parkinson's disease.    

The group has discovered a new molecule that could prevent Parkinson's from spreading in patients who already have the disease.  

Having his article published in Science magazine in the crème de la crème according to UA professor and research scientist Dr. Guy Caldwell. He said, "For a scientist this is kind of the equivalent of the national championship in football."    

The article details the discovery of a molecule Caldwell is calling NAB. "What NAB does is it accelerates the process of trafficking." The professor added, "Kind of alleviating a road block in the cells of the Parkinson's patients."    

After testing NAB in worms, the brain cells of a rat, and the skin cells of a Parkinson's patient, Caldwell and his team believes the molecule could protect cells from deteriorating and, could stop the disease from progressing. 

The research is being done by a team of three, Dr. Caldwell, and his wife, who is a professor at UA, and a former UA Ph D student.    

The research scientist said Parkinson's patients who have tremors as a result of the disease likely are surviving on twenty-percent of their neurons. NAB could protect that twenty-percent from becoming infected by the disease.    

The research, funded by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Caldwell said could help millions. "To me science is most fun when you're connecting the dots between different systems and different ideas. And that has come true here."

Dr. Caldwell believes it could be years before NAB would be in a medication form for Parkinson's patients.

To read the article in Science magazine click here.

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