A Parkinson’s disease medication may also be effective against cancer, new research suggests.
Parkinson’s patients often suffer muscle rigidity and shaking once they lose a neurotransmitter chemical.
But treatment with synthetic dopamine allows messages to continue to pass between motor neurons, and can help overcome the deficiency.
Now scientists writing in The Journal of Clinical Investigation have found that the compound may also target tumours.
They said studies show that dopamine can block the transfer of cells from bone marrow to the blood circulation.
Dr Sujit Basu, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minneapolis, who led the research, said: “Sometimes new drugs may not be the answer. We looked instead at a novel use for an established product and have found very promising results.
“This is the first time it has been shown that an important neurotransmitter like dopamine is regulating the mobilisation of these progenitor cells from the bone marrow. This is very important and represents why these findings are so unique.”
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