A biochemistry professor at Wichita State University has made research discoveries that could lead to more-successful treatments of Parkinson’s disease, the university said in a news release.
Kandatege Wimalasena and his doctoral and undergraduate students are researching the disease that produces 5,000 new cases in the U.S. every year, the university said. It is a neurodegenerative disease affecting 1 to 2 percent of people older than 60.
Wimalasena, a native of Sri Lanka, has spent the past several years focusing his research on Parkinson’s, hoping to help identify a way to target the underlying causes. He has studied industrial and environmental chemicals that might be underlying causes, the university said. Wimalasena’s lab has also discovered two sets of compounds that protect dopamine cells affected by MPP+ toxicity. He believes these compounds could be further developed to treat and/or to prevent Parkinson’s.