2014: Lisa Lapidus Lab Results Lead to Potential Parkinson's Treatment
Physics & Astronomy Professor Lisa Lapidus's research deals with the physical properties of proteins and how they behave under various conditions. This research has recently yielded promising results about a protein common in brain tissue which lead to the possibility that the protein's aggregation in cases of Parkinson's Disease and other brain disorders may be influenced by other molecules in such a way as to prevent this aggregation and thus short-circuit the development of the disorder.
Her research group's recent Journal of Biological Chemistry article shows that a "molecular tweezer" can prevent the clumping of the brain protein α-synuclein which is one of the prime suspects for contributing to Parkinson's Disease. This may lead to clinical trials to see if similar results can be seen in living brains, and if so, further tests may show whether the progress of the disease may be affected by such a treatment.
To raise funds for clinical studies in the next phase of the research, co-author and UCLA Professor Gal Bitan has set up an Indiegogo crowdsourcing project.
For more information about this research, see this MSU Today article.