When it comes to gene therapy, it’s usefulness in Parkinsons will depend on what you do with it. If you use it to make cells produce dopamine, that is already being done (see 5/25/20 article inn Parkinsons News Today:
The problem with making cells produce dopamine is that dopamine production is not the primary problem. The problem is that our dopamine producing cells are being killed off by alpha-synuclein that forms clumps and makes a mess of everything. The stuff will eventually kill off any new cells you put in that area to produce dopamine. Several previous studies that put dopamine-producing cells directly into the putamen found out that the new cells settled in nicely and produced dopamine, but eventually these cells, too, got killed off by the Clumping Synuclein! In your brain, Parkinsons is contagious! Now, if we could stop that synuclein from clumping..! The pathophysiology of synuclein is another big area of research. Does it clump because there is too much of it? If so, why? Can we alter this process? Research on the gut microbiome is looking at this, so if you have a chance to participate in any clinical research involving the GI tract, volunteer! Believe it or not, the constipation many of us struggle with may be part of the riddle!
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