Our proteins more flexible nature means more cells can be used to treat diseases such as Parkinsons disease a group of diseases that cause progressive paralysis and death in people with dementia.

A team of scientists from the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Orthopaedic Research Devices (NIH-OD-CMR) has developed a protein that can be used to treat diabetic neuropathy a condition in which all nerves in the limbs are paralyzed and loss of sensation in the arms and legs. With this innovative protein it may also be possible to restore limb function without taking blood or injecting medication and it may also be possible to treat condition in which nerve cells are destroyed.

The development of this innovative protein is described in the journal Advanced Science.

This protein acts as a bridge to completely bypass the need for medications or invasive surgery to treat an affliction with such severity that we simply cannot be treated with medication alone said Li Zhou Ph. D. a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of NIFD Undergraduate Research Fellow Tingyingshan Chen in the NIHs National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) division of center for Regenerative Medicine and Engineering. This protein could ultimately pave the way for the development of a functional and attractive substitute of daily injections in the form of non-invasive minimally invasive peripheral nerve-clamp technology for degenerative or neuropathic conditions of the limbs.

Diseases of the small prusclea which normally result in partial or complete paralysis can be diagnosed and treated as part of clinical practice using various modalities or in applications that rely on minimal surgery. The aforementioned prusclea was rejected as a population model for the first time — beyond the lab — and the research team found the pathogen in actual patients.

One of the most striking findings in the Northwestern study was that the disease protein itself unfolded like a pocket into healthy nerve cells Chen said. Such a rapid protein rearranges its folding that severe nerve cell damage may be addressed with minimal surgery.

Faced with such a challenge the researchers developed a novel protein-based platform that incorporates both mammalian and human nerve cell models to conduct experiments as effectively as possible. The readout from this unique platform will be essential to understand functional disease and the development of regenerative approaches to treat tissue injuries and disorders.