A team from Georgetown University Medical Center found that a synthesized steroid that mimics one produced by dogfish sharks was able to prevent the buildup of the protein alpha-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein clustering is the harbinger of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and dementia with Lewy bodies. Scientists used C. elegans, a nematode that has been genetically modified to produce the lethal protein, thus causing paralysis and cell damage as it ages. Using their nematode animal model, researchers discovered that squalamine reduced the virulence of alpha-synuclein by removing the protein from nerve cell walls in the C. elegans test subject. Scientists hope that squalamine may be able to be used as a therapeutic aid in patients who have neurodegenerative diseases.
I thought that this article was interesting because medicines have been created using plants and animals. Parkinson's disease is painful and uncomfortable for many patients, and if a steroid that's naturally found in dogfish sharks can be used to treat the symptoms caused by the disease, then so be it. It would be a great step in the treatment and possible prevention or cure for Parkinson's.