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Prion-like propagation of Parkinson's disease
Published on June 2, 2014 61 min
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Welcome to this presentation, which is entitled "Prion-like Propagation of Parkinson's Disease." My name is Patrik Brundin. I am at the Center for Neurodegenerative Science at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I also have an affiliation with Lund University in Sweden.
So this story begins about six years ago. We had submitted a manuscript entitled "Lewy bodies in long-surviving mesencephalic grafts for Parkinson's disease may suggest prion-like propagation." The reviewers at "Nature Medicine" found this to be an interesting observation. And all three of them thought it should be published. However, one reviewer pointed out that "On page five, the discussion of potential mechanisms for the phenomenon is interesting and appropriate." But "thereafter, the discussion of prion-like propagation of pathology into grafted neurons ventures into unsubstantiated fantasy-- the 'prion hypothesis' should be limited to no more than three sentences and reference to it should be removed from the title-- In fact, I think there were about 11 sentences dealing with this. And we ended up with maybe three or four. We did indeed remove it from the title.
Finally, the paper was published-- not using the word prion or prion-like in the title and barely discussing the hypothesis-- just mentioning it in passing.
So the themes for today's talk are really to "focus on the progression of Parkinson's disease," and in doing so, "injecting substance into the unsubstantiated fantasy" that I just mentioned-- namely, that Parkinson's disease might be a prion-like disorder. Finally, I will spend some time discussing what we can do about this. Is this opening up avenues for new therapies? I will begin by describing progression of Parkinson's disease and putting it in context of what this disorder is really about.