win-win co-operation: Gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease enters the development stage

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common chronic degenerative neurodegenerative disease in the world, second only to Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that about 1-2% of the world’s elderly over the age of 65 are affected by the disease. As the global aging population increases, the number of people suffering from the disease is likely to increase further.

Currently, L-dopa is the most effective drug for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the proportion of patients taking the drug group is up to 75%. However, long-term use of this medicine can cause severe debilitating exercise capacity fluctuations.

Recently, University College London (UCL) and Synpromics announced a partnership to create a series of synthetic gene promoters for the central nervous system (CNS) to develop gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease.


We sincerely hope that this cooperation will be successful and innovative Parkinson’s disease gene therapy will come out as soon as possible to benefit the patients!


Chemists gain influence in China

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that took place in Beijing last month, chemists throughout the country noted that three of their peers are now part of the 205-member Central Committee, one of the top ruling bodies of the Chinese Communist Party.  All in all, 25 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering are now members of the Central Committee, says Weihong Tan, a professor of chemistry at the University of Florida and Hunan University.

“Scientists in the Central Committee won’t be able to affect fundamental policies, but they will be a major part of the decision-making for science funding, or deciding how to tackle air pollution,” Tan says. “Scientists have definitely gained in influence in China in the past 25 years.”


———By Jean-François Tremblay

Modified sponge mops up oil but not water

In an effort to provide a cheap, reusable method to clean up water after oil and chemical spills, Tanmay Das and Debasish Haldar of the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Kolkata, coated a polystyrene sponge with a compound that allows it to absorb a wide range of oil and organic solvents but not water (ACS Omega 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b01379).——-By Kerri Jansen


Changes in diet may improve life expectancy in Parkinson’s patients

New research from the University of Aberdeen shows that weight loss in people with Parkinson’s disease leads to decreased life expectancy, increased risk of dementia and more dependency on care.

The team, led by Dr Angus Macleod propose that closer monitoring for weight loss in Parkinson’s patients and interventions in those who lose weight, such as a high calorie diet, may improve life expectancy, reduce dementia and reduce dependence on carers.

The study, published in Neurology, followed 275 people with Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonian disorders for up to ten years, monitored patients’ weight and investigated associations between weight loss and outcomes of the disease.


Brazilian scientists test anti-cocaine vaccines

Brazilian scientists are testing a vaccine that can help treat cocaine addicts by stopping cocaine from entering the brain. Cocaine is the main type of drug currently banned worldwide.Cocaine addicts have a higher relapse rate after treatment, and there is no effective anti-relapse drug or means. The Cocaine molecule  is too small to recognize them for our body’s immune system, and thus cannot produce antibodies. 

According to the web on November 20, Brazil minas gilardino, federal university researchers created molecule similar to cocaine molecules in the lab, and then convert it into the molecule that body’s immune system can recognize. The immune system was then activated and began to produce antibodies against cocaine.

The vaccine is not yet in clinical trials. Garcia expects that the vaccine will take 2-3 years to get into the market from clinical trials.


New possible target for rapid antidepressants found

People with depression have to take currently available antidepressants for months before they start to get relief from their symptoms. But scientists are on the hunt for new, fast-acting antidepressants.

For example, ketamine can improve symptoms temporarily, but comes with some undesirable side effects. So researchers want to understand which cellular pathways ketamine turns on and off to find possible new antidepressant drug targets that don’t lead to acute psychiatric side effects.

Scientists found that the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) (CAS# 53123-88-9)is an important node in many cell signaling pathways, and could be a new drug target for treating depression.


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