Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease are all characterized by the untimely death of brain cells, but what triggers cell death in the brain? According to a new study published by researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the answer in some cases is the untimely transfer of a gaseous molecule (known as nitric oxide, or NO) from one protein to another.
Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., is senior author of the study and director of the Del E. Web Center for Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research at Sanford-Burnham. To develop therapies to treat Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases based on their new findings, Lipton’s laboratory is applying the robotic technology in Sanford-Burnham’s Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics to screen thousands of chemicals for potential drugs that prevent the aberrant or excessive transfer of NO from one protein to another, and thus to prevent nerve cell injury and death.
For more information, go to http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729133436.htm.