An experimental scientific-technological investigation, carried out by Santiago Ballaz, professor at Yachay Tech University, together with professionals from University of Malaga (UMA) and University of Navarra, in Spain, has taken an important step in the study of Parkinson’s; discovering the existence of a protein in this disease that is also present in another variety of neuronal cancers, as well as a possible treatment for this condition.

Thus, a high level of presence of the alpha-synuclein protein was discovered in human neuronal tumor cells, known as neuroblastomas; which increases the number of malignant cells, causing tumors and a greater resistance to being destroyed. This causes people who suffer from this neurodegenerative disease to lose motor control and the appearance of tremors that characterize this ailment occurs; confirming that the toxic accumulation of this macromolecular composition increases the rate of cell death.

Therefore, this molecule plays a lethal role in a neurodegenerative disease where a population of specific neurons is lost and, at the same time, it is implicated in very aggressive tumors in the central nervous system.

Another contribution to this research is the incorporation of graphene (Partially Reduced Oxidized Graphene – PRGO), a nanomaterial of great interest due to its physicochemical and electrical conductivity characteristics to the affected cells to analyze their reaction.

The scientists applied PRGO to three clones of affected cells, one with a moderate amount of alpha-synuclein, another with high amounts of this protein, and the last one without it; showing that this compound somehow blocks neuronal malignancy and acts as a neuronal protector.

This indicates that graphene could slow the progression of degenerative diseases, once PRGO is proven to be effective within the human brain. This could be a therapeutic therapy if administered in some neuronal pathologies, and it would serve to improve the quality of life of people who have Parkinson’s; by means of a prosthesis implant or as supportive treatment.

For Santiago Ballaz “this may be the beginning of an alternative that reduces the damage and adverse effects that people with Parkinson’s face when receiving chemotherapy; since by including graphene, none or very few healthy cells of the body would be killed”.

The work “Overexpression of alpha-synuclein promotes both cell proliferation and cell toxicity in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells” was published in ‘Journal of Advanced Research’, one of the most important research spaces worldwide. (PSP)


Yachay Tech, as part of its outreach and social strategies, contributes to the development of the educational communities located in the City of Knowledge, specifically working with the Technological Institute […]

Yachay Tech, as part of its commitment to work together with the community and improve the quality of life of the citizens of the San Miguel de Urcuquí Canton, has created a training program for the citizens with the aim of training them with the competences to access quality higher education.