Wits Commercial Enterprise South Africa

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most frequent neurodegenerative disease of motor activity, with more than 10 million people worldwide suffering from the disease. One of the major causes of PD is a shortage of dopamine, which is important to motor functioning in the body. Additionally, in PD, a protein called α-synuclein forms aggregates and is the primary constituent of Lewy bodies (misfolded proteins) in the brain of PD patients. There is no cure for PD, but only palliative treatments which help patients to manage the accompanying symptoms of PD. Currently, the first line of treatment for PD is the use of drugs such as levodopa (L-Dopa). However, high doses and prolonged use of this treatment option results in undesirable side-effects such as dyskinesia, motor fluctuations and impulse control disorders.

The proposed solution involves the upregulation of the production in a protein (laminin receptor precursor/high-affinity laminin receptor (LRP/LR)) using a plasmid. Briefly, the plasmid functions as a vector to attach this LRP/LR molecule to the walls of cells, ultimately stimulating the cell’s internal mechanisms to achieve the production of even more LRP/LR. This upregulation prevents the aggregation of α-synuclein by targeting a domain (C-terminus domain, CTD), effectively stopping the over-synthesis of this misfolded protein. The overall effect of the CTD action is to decrease cell damage, maintain dopamine levels, and therefore treat and/or prevent development of Parkinson’s Disease. The solution has been tested in vitro at a laboratory scale; that is, using cell cultures. This technology requires testing using an animal model in order to determine various parameters, including the elucidation of the mechanism of action.

The key benefits of the solution include the following:

  • Biologically compatible active compound/pharmaceutical formulation
  • Minimal toxicity
  • Directly targets PD pathophysiology, not merely treating the symptoms
  • Preventive medication

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