Finnish researchers have found a nerve growth factor, which improves the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Certain nerve growth factors can be used to prevent the advancement of damage caused by neurotoxins. It can also be used for restoring functionality of damaged cells.
The neuroscience research programme of the Academy of Finland has investigated the effect of nerve growth factors in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. The research, which has been carried out on animal models revealed that the symptoms of Parkinson's disease alleviate thanks to the growth factor.
The motoric impairments associated with Parkinson's disease result from the slowly advancing degeneration of the dopaminergic neurons in the brains. The existing treatment alleviates some of the symptoms, such as the trembling of hands. However, they do not work in preventing or stopping the degeneration of nerve cells.
The nerve growth methods investigated up to now have had some attributes in preventing the degeneration of neurons. The treatment effect has nevertheless been minimal. The Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki has now tested the function of two nerve growth factors. The outcome of using MANF and CDNF nerve growth factors on rats has been a partial restoration of functionality of damaged neurons.
The research project has been carried out by two research teams supervised by Academy Professor Mart Saarma and Professor Raimo K. Tuominen from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki.