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From Chron.com (Houston Chronicle):
A drug already used in some leukemia patients prevented brain cells linked to Parkinson's disease from being destroyed in mice, a finding that could point to a way to slow progression of the disease, San Antonio researchers are reporting.

The research is early, and the drug used in the experiment doesn't work well in the human brain. But similar drugs are in development that might better penetrate the brain as well as target the specific enzyme at fault more precisely, scientists said.

The results were being published Wednesday in the Journal of Neuroscience.

About a half-million people suffer from the tell-tale tremors and stiffness of Parkinson's, which is caused by damage to the dopamine-producing cells in the brain.

"In Parkinson's disease, we know the number of patients is increasing," said Syed Imam, the lead author of the paper and an adjunct assistant professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center. "The (current) treatments are mostly to improve symptoms. They do not address how to slow down the disease. Our studies were targeted at whether we could actually slow the progression."

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