Towards New Therapies for Parkinson Disease
David I. Finkelstein
Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterised clinically by various non-motor and progressive motor symptoms, pathologically by loss of dopamine producing cells and intraneuronal cytoplasmic inclusions composed primarily of ?-synuclein. By the time a patient first presents with symptoms of Parkinson's disease at the clinic, a significant proportion of the cells in the substantia nigra have already been destroyed. This degeneration progresses despite the current therapies until the cell loss is so great that the quality of normal life is compromised. The dopamine precursor levodopa is the most valuable drug currently available for the treatment of PD. However for most PD patients, the optimal clinical benefit from levodopa decreases around five to six years of treatment. The aim of the chapters of this book is to work towards an understanding in the mechanisms of degeneration and to develop disease modifying therapies.