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Qld breakthrough in Parkinson's treatment

AAP logoAAP 26/08/2016

Queensland researchers have made a breakthrough that could help treat tremors and muscle stiffness caused by Parkinson's disease.

The study from the University of Queensland's Institute for Molecular Bioscience examined a genetic mutation the biological cause of which has not been understood - until now.

Their study showed that dysfunctions in retromer - in a type of protein responsible for transporting biological material within a cell - creates congestion in the transport network inside cells.

That disrupts the ability of recycling cells to get to the right place, which means cells in the brain can't get rid of waste material, leading to cell death.

"It's this cell death that then causes the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremors and muscle stiffness," says Associate Professor Rohan Teasdale.

He says the team's discovery has the potential to improve treatments that address the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

The same treatment principle could also apply to nearly 50 other disorders caused by the build-up of waste materials within cells.

Those disorders, known as lysosomal diseases, are especially prevalent in young children.

The study by the Institute for Molecular Bioscience has been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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