A new enzyme discovered by researchers at the universities of Manchester and York could help make a Parkinson’s drug cheaper and quicker to manufacture.
The enzyme was found in a kind of fungus that’s used to make soy sauce and it’s thought its biggest impact could be seen in medications known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, including the Rasagiline drug that helps those with Parkinson’s by increasing a substance in the brain that has an effect on motor function.
Rasagiline is one of the main treatments for the disease, with lead author of the study professor Nick Turner of the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology saying: “This is a very exciting discovery from both a chemistry and pharmaceutical perspective. It is the first enzyme of its kind that has these properties and has the potential to improve the production of this and other important drugs.”
Although there is no cure as yet for Parkinson’s, drug treatment is the main method for controlling its symptoms. They work by increasing the level of dopamine reaching the brain and stimulating the parts of the brain where this chemical messenger works.
Because each person with Parkinson’s has a different experience of the disease, a nurse or specialist will work alongside each patient to find the best drug, dose and timing – which could take some time. The symptoms may also change over time so medication may have to be altered later down the line as well.
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