A vaccine to treat the progressive neurological condition Parkinson’s disease is currently underway.
Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston are working towards the development of a therapeutic vaccine for the Parkinson’s disease.
Professor Rowen Chang and his teams of researchers from the UT Health Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases have already made some breakthroughs in bringing out a prospective vaccine to treat Parkinson’s.
The new Parkinson’s vaccine is based on the concept developed on already available scientific data. Previous preclinical vaccine research demonstrated that reducing the buildup of the protein alpha synuclein limited nerve damage to Parkinson’s sufferers.
The researchers are hopeful that new approach will be a more effective form of Parkinson’s therapy.
“We’re creating a vaccine to target a protein that accumulates in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease,” Chang was quoted as saying. “If we can slow the protein buildup, I believe we will also slow the deterioration of nerve cells tied to body movement.”
The research has already yielded positive results, identifying an immunogen. Immunogen is the trigger that causes the body to release antibodies used to protect against dangerous agents that may prevent the accumulation of alpha synuclein.
Now the researchers are planning to test the effects of the immunogen in mouse models that express the human alpha synuclein protein. If these tests are successful, the new Parkinson’s vaccine will go on clinical trial.
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition, which normally affects people who are aged 50 or over but younger people can get it too. One in 20 is under the age of 40.
People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died.
Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things.The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear.
The main symptoms of Parkinson’s are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.As well as affecting movement, people with Parkinson’s can find that other issues, such as tiredness, pain, depression and constipation, can have an impact on their day-to-day lives.
The symptoms someone has and how quickly the condition develops will differ from one person to the next.
The symptoms can be controlled using a combination of drugs, therapies and occasionally surgery.
It’s not easy to diagnose Parkinson’s. There are no laboratory tests so it’s important that the diagnosis is given by a specialist.
The specialist will examine the person for any physical signs of Parkinson’s and take a detailed history of the symptoms they’re experiencing. Find out more in our information sheet on diagnosis and scans.
There’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s and we don’t yet know why people get the condition.
Parkinson’s doesn’t directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.