By ARPAN SAHOO, JONATHAN SHEN, DARREL D’SOUZA, JOHN REZK, Morganville, USA
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects movement (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2015). Current solutions include surgical therapy or medications, but these solutions are not fully effective. Our solution treats Parkinson’s at its source. Lewy bodies are clumps of alpha-synuclein common to Parkinson’s. Lewy bodies have been shown to cause neurons to die, impairing the nervous system ("Alpha-Synuclein and Parkinson's Disease"). Our solution uses the enzyme NEDD4, which degrades alpha-synuclein, in order to degrade the build-up and allow for recovery. To deliver NEDD4 to the alpha-synuclein, it will be attached to aptamers. Aptamers are RNA nanostructures that bind to specific targets by forming hydrogen bonds. The aptamer will be modified by adding polyethylene glycol (a high density polymer) so that the aptamer will not be affected by nuclease degradation and kidney filtration. By injecting a modified aptamer carrying NEDD4, alpha-synuclein will be destroyed, leading to an effective treatment of Parkinson’s.
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