According to a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers have designed a molecule that, if developed into a drug, could slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

In Parkinson’s, a protein called α-synuclein changes shape and stacks with other misshapen proteins. The new molecule binds to the sticky part of α-synuclein, stopping it from clumping and killing brain cells.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition in which brain cells die causing a lack of the chemical dopamine, which acts as a messenger that coordinates movement. The condition causes symptoms of tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.

The research team led by Bath designed the 10 amino-acid peptide molecule by screening a library of peptides based on the region of α-synuclein that is mutated in patients with early onset Parkinson’s. This is the first time that this part of the α-synuclein protein has been explored as a potential drug target.

The researchers next hope to test the peptide in mammalian neurone cells and then develop it into a drug that is effective in humans.

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.