A study published in PNAS by North American researchers seeks to predict diagnostic accuracy (Image: Department of Health)
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston (USA) have developed a molecular screening platform that they have successfully applied to samples from patients seeking a diagnosis.
In the development of Parkinson's disease, changes that lead to neurodegeneration occur in the brain long before patients show any symptoms. But without a test that can detect these changes, it is difficult to intervene early to more effectively slow the progression of the disease.
Now, researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have developed a molecular screening platform that they have successfully applied to patient samples to detect and measure a specific biomarker called pathogenic alpha-synuclein aggregates, which is the hallmark of Parkinson's disease. The results were published in BNAS magazine.
“This work is an important step towards our goal of developing a way to detect and measure a key marker of Parkinson's disease to help doctors identify patients much earlier,” comments David Walt, corresponding author of the study.
Walt says that through these studies, it will be possible, for example, to expand treatment alternatives for some diseases. “In this way, it will be possible to more efficiently maintain control of diseases and related neurodegenerative disorders,” he said, highlighting that having a detectable biomarker could also help identify new drug candidates and test their effects in groups of patients. In the early stages of the disease.
More than 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson's disease, the incidence of which is increasing with age in societies where life expectancy has also risen in recent decades. When clinical symptoms appear, the disease has already caused irreversible brain damage. There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose the condition in patients who do not have a known genetic predisposition, which represents about 90%.
Parkinson's disease, along with multiple system atrophy (MSA) and dementia with Lewy bodies, belongs to a group of neurological disorders that share pathological aggregation of the protein alpha-synuclein into toxic fibers. These damaged structures disrupt multiple neuronal functions and eventually cause neuronal death.
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