A Greek scientist has identified how the human organism develops Parkinson’s disease and her research can aid in the search for potential treatments, a Proto Thema report says.
Dorothea Pinotsi is the head of the research team of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge. The scientist has identified when Parkinson’s proteins become toxic to brain cells.
The discovery, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, opens a pathway for the medical community regarding the “how” and “why” of the manifestation of the particular neurodegenerative disease and the search for new therapies.
Parkinson’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide after Alzheimer’s disease. More than seven million people worldwide suffer from the disease, with symptoms including muscle tremors, stiffness and difficulty in walking. Dementia is common in later stages of the disease.
The research shows how important it is to fully understand the processes at work behind neurodegenerative diseases, so that the right step in the process can be targeted. “With these optical super-resolution techniques, we can really see details we couldn’t see before, so we may be able to counteract this toxic effect at an early stage,” Pinotsi told Proto Thema newspaper.
Researchers have used a non-invasive method of observing how the process leading to Parkinson’s disease takes place at the nanoscale, and identified the point in the process at which proteins in the brain become toxic, eventually leading to the death of brain cells.
research results suggest that the same protein can either cause, or protect against, the toxic effects that lead to the death of brain cells, depending on the structural form it takes.
“By observing how serious diseases are developing, we aim to find new methods for early detection of the diseases and their treatment. This is my passion and my goal. To contribute to the development of techniques that can shed light on diseases, ” Pinotsi told Proto Thema newspaper.
Pinotsi studied Electrical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, before moving to Zürich to get a PhD in Applied Physics at the Technical University of Zürich.