Researchers develop light-activated Parkinson’s drug
A new light-activated drug for treating Parkinson’s has been developed by a research team led by the University of Barcelona, Spain. The drug – named MRS7145 – is placed within a brain implant and then activated by shining a light on it. The effect of the newly developed drug was tested on live mice to see if it could improve their motor function. The results – published in ‘Journal of Controlled Release’ – showed that MRS7145 reduced tremors and seizures and improved the mice’s ability to walk. Professor Francisco Ciruela, researcher at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Barcelona, Spain, said he envisaged the drug being administered by smart phones, with “the doctor (controlling) in a precise manner the release of the most efficient dose of the active drug in the place of action”.
Artificial intelligence to monitor Parkinson’s symptoms
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US have developed an artificial intelligence system that can monitor Parkinson’s symptoms from the other side of a solid wall. The x-ray technology – named RF-Pose – will use radio signals to sense individuals’ posture and movement. This will help medical professionals track the development of Parkinson’s and provide more effective care. Dina Katabi, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: “We’ve seen that monitoring patients’ walking speed and ability to do basic activities on their own gives healthcare providers a window into their lives that they didn’t have before. “A key advantage of our approach is that patients do not have to wear sensors or remember to charge their devices.”
The Michael J Fox Foundation awards $107,000 grant to new Parkinson’s study
The Michael J Fox Foundation has awarded a grant of US $107,000 to fund research into a newly discovered gene linked to Parkinson’s. The study – carried out by researchers from the University of Bordeaux, France and Purdue University, US – will investigate whether gene NFE2L1 can reduce nerve cell death in those living with the condition. Jean-Christophe Rochet, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Purdue University, said: “We recently found that a minor allele [part of a gene] of NFE2L1 can lower Parkinson’s risk. “These observations imply that neuron death in Parkinson’s disease may result in part from a loss of the neuroprotective action of NFE2L1.”