Sonic: Discover Discovered Protein for Potential Parkinson's Treatment

Led by researchers at the City University of New York (CUNY), a new study appears to have found an unprecedented — and still initial — way to treat Parkinson’s disease. After testing the experimental treatment in animals, scientists hope that, in the future, the quality of life of patients with this central nervous system disorder may improve. Interestingly, the key protein for therapy was named Sonic the Hedgehog. Yes, a tribute to the blue hedgehog eternalized in the gaming world.

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  • According to the scientists of the study, the drug Levodopa (L-dopa) is considered one of the best alternatives , today, for the treatment of Parkinson’s. However, after a few years of continuous use, a significant portion of patients may report a debilitating side effect, which is known as L-dopa-induced dyskinesia (LID).

    Sonic Protein Concentration May Be Key for a better treatment against Parkinson’s Disease (Image: Reproduction/Raman Oza/Pixabay)

    LID triggers involuntary movements in the limbs, face and trunk of patients. In turn, medicine has already developed a treatment that “controls” or alleviates this problem: deep brain stimulation. But this procedure is quite invasive and cannot be applied to all patients. Now, better responses to this unfolding of therapy are investigated.

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    Studying the Sonic Protein against Parkinson’s

    It is in this challenging scenario that the Sonic protein the Hedgehog (Shh) could make a difference in the lives of Parkinson’s patients, according to the authors of the study conducted in animal models. In research with mice, it was possible to observe that substances that increase the concentration of Shh strengthen the system’s protection against the appearance of LID.

    “We provide a new insight into the underlying mechanisms behind the formation of LID and provide a potential therapeutic solution,” says Lauren Malave, a researcher at CUNY and lead author of the study.

    It is worth noting that researchers are still far from turning this discovery into a remedy widely available. If future studies continue to show this same therapeutic benefit, it is possible that, soon, a better and more affordable treatment will be available for this neurological condition.

    To access the full study on the protein Sonic, published in the journal Communications Biology, click here.

    Source: CUNY

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