Many proteins and pathways play a role in the cascade of events that contribute to Parkinson's disease (PD). The development of new therapies and, ultimately, a cure for PD requires a greater understanding of these mechanisms. Research into the biology of PD can help us learn why and how things go wrong and provide new ways to measure and track disease onset and progression.
In our new podcast series called "Getting to a Cure: The Science behind the Search," we take a deeper dive into some of these topics through discussions with our Michael J. Fox Foundation staff scientists and other Parkinson's researchers.
In this second episode, MJFF contributing editor Dave Iverson spoke to Jamie Eberling, PhD, director of research programs at the Foundation, about alpha-synuclein, a protein that clumps in brain cells of nearly everyone with Parkinson's, which researchers believe may lead to disease symptoms and progression.
"We know there is a normal function of alpha-synuclein and think it has something to do with the way the brain cells communicate and transport chemicals," said Dr. Eberling. "With Parkinson's disease, it's somehow processed abnormally and doesn't function in the normal way anymore."
Learn more about alpha-synuclein in our next Third Thursdays Webinar: "Stopping the Sticky Protein behind Parkinson's" on November 17, 2016, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Register now.
Listen to the first podcast in the Science behind the Search series: "Learning the Language of LRRK2."
Read about results announced earlier this week from an alpha-synuclein therapy trial.