Aggregates of alpha-synuclein in brain cells of people with PARKINSON’S DISEASE have long been the target of research hoping to cure or at least alleviate the symptoms of dementias often associated with PARKINSON’S DISEASE. Newly publicized research from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden together with Wroclaw University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland found that it is possible to use a laser driven technology to distinguish the formations of alpha-synuclein proteins from the formations of other functionally beneficial and necessary proteins in the brain. The same technique, called “multi-photon laser technique” could also be used to eliminate those aggregated proteins..
These researchers believe that the ability to target these misfolded proteins that are believed to be part of the disease process for many dementia type diseases, including Alzheimer’s, PARKINSON’S, and Lewy Body diseases may enable them to be destroyed by laser instead of by taking multiple drugs to counter their activity. Photo acoustic therapies, such as these researchers discuss, has already been used to destroy cancer tumors in certain specific settings. During this therapy, the specific light wave energy of the laser is converted to heat on targeted specific light wave sensitive receptors on the cells. The heat generated then destroys that targeted cell.
This treatment for destroying alpha-synuclein misfolded proteins is a very new, “on the cutting edge of research” technology. As with all new procedures and technologies, a lot of studies will need to be done before it can be made widely available to treat people with PARKINSON’S DISEASE. It would be a non-surgically invasive procedure and would potentially reduce the use of medications while wiping out the dementia caused by accumulations of alpha-synuclein.
With Thanks to
Piotr Hanczyc, Marek Samoc, Bengt Norden. Multiphoton absorption in amyloid protein fibres. Nature Photonics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2013.282
Reviewed by Marcia McCall