PARP for Parkinson's?
PARP inhibitors, or drugs that block the enzymes involved in DNA repair, have shown a lot of promise in treating a wide range of cancers. But companies like Tesaro and Clovis Oncology — which already have secured approval for their respective PARP inhibitors — ought to take note of this new study in Science.
The authors describe a new molecular pathway that might account for why Lewy bodies — deposits of certain proteins in Parkinson’s — might build up. Basically, a protein called a-synuclein — as seen in a test tube, anyway — can activate these PARP repair proteins, which in turn create highly pathogenic fibers. When they are implanted into cell cultures, or the brains of mice, they lead to protein buildup and neuronal death.
The basic biology here suggests that PARP inhibitors, such as those being developed for a wide slew of cancers, might have some efficacy in slowing the accumulation of protein tangles in the Parkinson’s brain.