Protein may stop progression of a brain disease

Protein may stop the progression of a brain diseaseResearchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that a protein that boosts neurons and blood vessels in the brain may be able to stop the progression of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, a degenerative brain disease that starts affecting people's coordination and movements in their 30s and 40s.

The researchers found that when the protein vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was put into the brains of mice, it slowed the progression of the disease, which offers researchers a little more information about the disease.

"If you give VEGF early in the disease, you prevent degeneration later in life," said Dr. Puneet Opal, associate professor of neurology and of cell and molecular biology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "We think VEGF increases the blood vessels in the brain but also directly prevents neurons from dying. These results hold the potential for future therapy."

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