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Dogfish Shark Compound Could Help Treat Parkinson's Disease


Dogfish Shark Compound Could Help Treat Parkinson's DiseaseResearchers believe a chemical compound found in dogfish sharks may have the potential to reduce the formation of toxic proteins that are related to the development of Parkinson's disease.

Publishing their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers from Cambridge University said Squalamine - which is found in the liver of dogfish sharks - not only prevents the formation of toxic plaques, known as Lewy Bodies, which accumulate in the brain of Parkinson's sufferers, but also stops them being as damaging once they’ve already formed.

It's not the first time, though, that squalamine has been used for medical purposes. It has already featured in clinical trials for cancer and eye conditions in America. A trial now in Parkinson's Disease patients is also being planned by one of the researchers involved in the study.

Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity and slow, imprecise movement. At present, up to 1 million people in the United States alone are living with Parkinson's, while its precise causes remain unclear.

The hope is that if further tests prove successful, a drug treating at least some of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease could be developed from squalamine.