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An Auckland Scientist Looks To Stall Parkinson’s

Dr Victor Dieriks

Dr. Victor Dieriks from the University of Auckland's Centre for Brain Research just got $571,000 to extend his Parkinson's research.

Dr. Dieriks' research inspects alpha-synuclein protein, which misfolds and clumps together, which is toxic to the brains of people with Parkinson's.

In particular, his research aims to find what genes play the most prominent roles in alpha-synuclein removal – and whether they can be tweaked to reduce the protein's spread.

Dr. Dieriks recently spoke to Parkinson's New Zealand to discuss his research objectives for the next five years.

Dr. Dieriks has been working with five different alpha-synuclein variants, with the difference amongst them how they fold themselves in clumps. Each form of folding leads to the onset of varied conditions - Parkinson's, Lewy-body dementia, or even Multiple System Atrophy.

Upon testing these alpha-synuclein variants on brain cells, several potential genes were found to be related to the overproduction of alpha-synuclein.

Dr. Dieriks believes that by identifying these genes and the specific alpha-synuclein variant affecting a person with Parkinsonism, more individualised therapies can be set up instead of a mostly one-size-fits-all approach.

The funding for Dr. Dieriks' work comes via a five-year Sir Charles Hercus Health Research Fellowship.

Source: The University of Auckland, "Stalling Parkinson's disease is Auckland scientist's goal

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