PerspectiveParkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease: From human genetics to clinical trials

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Science Translational Medicine  16 Sep 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 305, pp. 305ps20
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa8280

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Combining genetic insights into the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) with findings from animal and cellular models of this disorder has advanced our understanding of the pathways that lead to the characteristic degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the brain’s nigrostriatal pathway. This has fueled an increase in candidate compounds designed to modulate these pathways and to alter the processes underlying neuronal death in this disorder. Using mitochondrial quality control and the macroautophagy/lysosomal pathways as examples, we discuss the pipeline from a comprehensive genetic architecture for PD through to clinical trials for drugs targeting pathways linked to neurodegeneration in PD. We also identify opportunities and pitfalls on the road to a clinically effective disease-modifying treatment for this disease.

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