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Root Cause for Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases is Addressed

All living beings are made up of cells. They are the building blocks of life. There are single cell and multi-cellular organisms in the world. We humans are multi-cellular. These cells get nourishment time to time by naturally present chemical substances called the Proteins. Since these substances are chemicals by nature, they are made up of molecules called amino acids with different molecular structure. Every molecular structure becomes the origin of a unique physical property.

Over a period of time, there are several factors which bring changes in these proteins. The changes can be beneficial or harmful to the body. Technically, the concept is called Protein folding and misfolding. The most important effect of protein misfolding is the process of ageing. Diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease trace back their origin to Protein misfolding. Research in this field has gained momentum of late.

Researchers from the Duke University Medical Center, have reported a breakthrough. They have found some chemicals which increase the ability of a cell to fold the proteins properly. This can lead to discovery of drugs for nerve damage diseases like Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Knowledge Gained from the Research:

  • The research was carried on experimental rats.
  • Protein folding is possible when there is an increased supply of molecules called Protein chaperone to the cells.
  • Out of the many identified helpful molecules, one called the Heat Shock Factor 1 was particularly found to be impressive against Huntington’s disease.
  • Experimental rats and fruit flies suffering from this disease were given this chemical in their cells, the damage caused by this disease was reduced by fair levels.
  • Rats and fruit flies are animals which share a lot of similarity in functioning of the body. It is for this reason, that these animals are the first choice of researchers as models for carrying research work.
  • Conclusions drawn from research carried out on these animals models apply directly on human too.
  • The identified chemicals do not produce protein chaperone when subjected the cell to any stress.
  • They do not cause any interruption in the production of another essential protein Hsp 90, required for proper functioning of the cells.

In this way, the method found by this research produces Protein chaperone molecule in a novel way, compared to the previously known methods of production.

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