March 29, 2012

Researchers at The University of Texas may have found an important key to finding drugs to treat or potentially cure Parkinson’s disease—worms. The roundworms are genetically modified to have a dopamine deficiency similar to that in Parkinson’s. Because roundworms and humans share a similar genetic structure to their dopaminergic systems, researchers can study the effectiveness certain drugs have on the worms’ movements and conclude they could have similar results in humans with Parkinson’s disease.

This breakthrough model is cheaper and faster than the typical testing, and researchers believe that they may be able to test roughly 1,000 drugs a year using worms. For more information on the Parkinsonian worms, read this article from the University of Texas.