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New insights into protein folding could aid in developing therapies for neurodegenerative diseases

When vital proteins in your body are misfolded, the result can be a debilitating neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer's or Huntington's. While there currently are no cures for these conditions, Stanford researchers have taken a step that could help get them closer to new therapies.

Judith Frydman, PhD, and colleagues developed a technique that allows them to peek inside microscopic chambers called chaperonins, where many of our most critical proteins are folded, and witness the folding process. In an article in today's Stanford Report, Frydman describes the findings, which were published earlier this year in Cell, and discusses their significance:

I think this really opens up a lot of interesting avenues to explore how this works in higher organisms. Since [the chaperonin] helps fold many disease-linked proteins, and is central to protect cells from misfolding diseases such as Huntington's disease, this work could have many therapeutic applications.

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