After we posted yesterday’s blog (Thursday 10 October) about Giovanna Mallucci’s research in Leicester, we received a report on the story from the President of the MND Association, Prof Colin Blakemore.
The researchers identified a key pathway that might be a turning point in the search for effective treatments for many types of neurodegenerative disease and we couldn’t resist posting Prof Blakemore’s views:
The team at the MRC Toxicology Unit in Leicester has been studying mice with a so-called prion disease (very similar to Mad Cow Disease), produced by genetic modification of the mice or by infection. Prion disorders are known to be caused by unusual “misfolded” protein molecules accumulating inside nerve cells, and last year Professor Mallucci discovered why the nerve cells die. When unusual protein molecules build up inside a nerve cell, the cell shuts down the production of its own proteins in self-defence. But if the shut-down continues for too long, the nerve cell starves itself of its own proteins and dies.