PD is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder affecting several million people worldwide. It inflicts a tremendous social and economic burden on modern society where the incidence of the disease increases with age. Currently, the mean age of onset is around 55 years.
The current PD treatment approach employing levodopa, an intermediate molecule in the genesis of dopamine, is ranked among the most remarkable success stories in medical history. However, the drug confers only symptomatic relief of what remains an inexorably progressive and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. As a result, the need for novel neuroprotective agents designed to interfere with the basic pathogenic mechanism of cell death in PD is apparent.
Induction of apoptosis by both environmental insults and PD genetic predisposition suggests that biochemical events involved in the cell death process are highly conserved despite the differences in the nature of neurotoxic insults. Apoptotic cell death process includes oxidative stress, mitochondrial impairment, UPS dysfunction, caspase cascade, kinase activation and DNA fragmentation.
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