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C. Biochemists Look for New Ways to Combat Parkinson's Disease
trong>Narrator: This is Science Today. Understanding the molecular basis of Parkinson's disease and developing drugs to combat it is the goal of biochemist Tony Fink of the University of California , Santa Cruz . Fink and his colleagues recently discovered that rifampicin, an antibiotic long used to treat leprosy and tuberculosis shows promise fighting Parkinson's disease.

Fink: Because it's an approved drug, it was of some interest. I should mention that it does have some potential toxicity problems associated with large doses over long time periods. It adversely affects the kidneys. And that's partly why we're trying to find others that are better suited. Because they may have fewer side effects for example and they may be effective at lower concentrations. But there's always a balance between if something that's already approved and if it's effective, but maybe not quite effective as some as yet unapproved compound would be.

Narrator: In the lab, Fink found that rifampicin prevented the formation of protein fibrils linked to the death of brain cells in people with Parkinson's disease. The drug also dissolved existing fibrils. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.