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Will there be a new way to fight Parkinson’s disease? – results of polish researchers

Prof. Gracjan Michlewski and Prof. Jacek Kuźnicki, employed at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw – IIMCB, may, through their work, significantly contribute to the invention of a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Research grants

Prof. Gracjan Michlewski and prof. Jacek Kuźnicki within the framework of OPUS 25 research grants, awarded by the National Science Centre at a value of approximately PLN 3 million each, are carrying out projects focusing on the fight against Parkinson’s disease. Professor Michlewski and his team are working on a project called – Biological control and pharmacological regulation of RNAs involved in the aetiology of Parkinson’s disease. Professor Kuźnicki, on the other hand, is working on a project called – How inactivation of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter protects dopaminergic neurons [1].

Disease genesis

Prof. Michlewski states that the main cause of Parkinson’s disease is the atrophy of neurons in the brain, particularly dopaminergic neurons, which are responsible for the production of dopamine [2]. This substance is primarily associated with the sensation of pleasure, but it also plays such important roles as controlling learning and concentration, controlling mood, supervising heart and kidney function, and controlling sleep [3].

Why is research by scientists so important?

According to WHO data, the number of people with Parkinson’s disease has doubled over the past 25 years [4]. In 2019, approximately 8.5 million people are expected to suffer from the disease, with 90,000 cases diagnosed annually in the US alone [5].

According to the National Institute of Aging (the American Institutes of Health’s research and prevention of diseases associated with older age), the four main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • tremor of the arms, hands, legs, jaw or head,
  • muscle rigidity,
  • the slowness of movement,
  • impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls [6].

Ultimately, the disease can lead to a situation where independent functioning is impossible.

Results of the Research Teams

The results of the work of both teams may enable an understanding of the regulatory processes involved in Parkinson’s disease, and will also help to develop innovative therapies based on controlling protein expression, as in the case of Prof Michlewski’s team. The research will also help develop strategies to inhibit dopaminergic neuronal atrophy, as demonstrated by Prof. Jacek Kuźnicki’s team [1]. This is crucial from the perspective of the prevention and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and thus important from the point of view of, among others, the health institutions responsible for the treatment of national citizens.

Bibliography

  1. Polish research could lead to new method of treating Parkinson’s disease, Katarzyna Czechowicz, https://scienceinpoland.pl/en/news/news%2C99807%2Cpolish-research-could-lead-new-method-treating-parkinsons-disease.html, (accessed 10.01.2024).
  2. Research by Polish scientists may lead to the development of a new treatment method for Parkinson’s disease, Website rynekzdrowia.pl https://www.rynekzdrowia.pl/Neurologia/Badania-polskich-naukowcow-moga-pomoc-w-opracowaniu-nowej-metody-leczenia-choroby-Parkinsona,253139,208.html, (accessed 10.01.2024).
  3. Dopamine: The pathway to pleasure, Stephanie Watson, Harvard Health Publishing, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/dopamine-the-pathway-to-pleasure, (accessed 10.01.2024).
  4. Parkinson’s disease, WHO, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/parkinson-disease, (accessed 10.01.2024).
  5. Statistics, Parkinson’s Foundation, https://www.parkinson.org/understanding-parkinsons/statistics, (accessed 10.01.2024).
  6. Parkinson’s disease: Causes, symptoms and treatment, NIH, https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/parkinsons-disease/parkinsons-disease-causes-symptoms-and-treatments, (accessed 10.01.2024).
Patryk Kukla
Bio:
My primary motivation is to pursue an academic career through running research in the social psychology field. I hope that my work will have a positive impact on the academic community as well as the understanding of human nature.
Written by:

Patryk Kukla

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