Each of our cells is a hub of activity with various actions and operations happening to keep us alive and control function. Autophagy is the recycling system -- gathering and degrading unnecessary or damaged parts in the cell for recycling into useful components.
The study of this system is so important for our understanding of cellular function and disease that the researcher who discovered the mechanisms of autophagy won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
In the latest podcast in our "Getting to a Cure: Science behind the Search" series, Samantha Hutten, PhD, a senior associate director of Research Programs at The Michael J. Fox Foundation, talks about autophagy and its connection to Parkinson's disease (PD). Scientists believe this system doesn't work correctly in PD, especially in degrading mitochondria (energy-making powerhouse) and the protein alpha-synuclein.
Our Foundation is funding strategies to understand more about autophagy's role in PD, measure this process as a biological marker of Parkinson's, and develop therapies that could correct autophagy and protect cells.
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