In an enormous leap forward in the understanding of Parkinson’s disease (PD), researchers have discovered a new tool that can reveal a key pathology of the disease: abnormal alpha-synuclein — known as the “Parkinson’s protein” — in brain and body cells.
The breakthrough published in the scientific journal The Lancet Neurology, opens a new chapter for research, with the promise of a future where every person living with Parkinson’s can expect improved care and treatments — and newly diagnosed individuals may never advance to full-blown symptoms.
The tool, called the α-synuclein seeding amplification assay (αSyn-SAA), can detect pathology in spinal fluid not only of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but also in individuals who have not yet been diagnosed or shown clinical symptoms of the disease, but are at a high risk of developing it.
By helping to identify people at the earliest stages of PD, “We could then study what happens at different biological stages of the disease,” says Dr. Sherer. Says Ken Marek, MD, PPMI principal investigator, “αSyn-SAA enables us to move to another level in effecting new strategies for prevention of disease.”
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Source: The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson' research, 13 April 2023