Can We Cure It All?

A lot of medications that we have heard of today that are designed to make diseases more livable don’t actually treat the source of the problem. More often than not, they treat the symptoms, but not necessarily the cause. From a logical perspective, this doesn’t make the most sense. When you put out a fire, you aim the extinguisher at the bottom, where the source of the fire occurs, not at the flames themselves.

Granted we are trying to do the best that we can. For some diseases we don’t even know what the exact cause is, and some diseases have so many possible causes that it would be impossible to treat each individual case.

Consider Parkinson ’s disease; PD is a neurodegenerative disease, which like many neurodegenerative diseases, involves the development of a conglomeration of buildup in different areas in the brain. In PD, an abundant protein called alpha-synuclein is phosphorylated and then accumulated to become a Lewy Body. Lewy Bodies do not occur in a healthy brain, and they are essentially just little knots of trash. These aggregations can cause cell death, specifically the death of dopaminergic neurons. These neurons are involved with the synthesis of dopamine, and essential substance.

Knot

There are SO many causes of PD, that it is likely that we’ll never be able to cure all forms of it. Basically, if any kinase is mutated so that it over phosphorylates alpha-synuclein, PD can occur. Or if any protein that helps to get rid of excess proteins in the brain is mutated, PD can occur. Luckily, PD isn’t very deadly, and the most common medication administered (a dopamine precursor compound) helps to reduce the tremors which are common with PD.

Like PD, we don’t have cures for most neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s or ALS. These diseases also likely have many many different causes, but it is possible that these causes are all relatively similar. It is essential that we continue funding research on these diseases, if we ever hope to find a cure.