Single therapy may treat Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Mad Cow

Researchers have discovered an important similarity in the causes of cell degeneration and death in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, type II diabetes and CJD, suggesting that a single therapy could combat these different ailments. University of California at Irvine molecular biologists Charles Glabe and Rakez Kayed found that small toxic molecules believed to trigger cell damage in these diseases have a similar structure. The study, which appears in the April 18, 2003 issue of Science, implies that these molecules, called toxic soluble oligomers, share parallel functions, which makes them suitable targets for new drugs or vaccines that could halt progression of many degenerative diseases.