I know it is difficult to wait for a cure but it is the same for all illnesses; cancers, diabetes, infections... without research there would not be treatments. BUT, without understanding a disease process how can you tailor research?
Serendipitous discoveries are commonly reported. For example, penicillin's discovery in an untidy lab, but are you really willing to risk everything on the chance that a discovery will come along? Even penicillin had to be tested for its safety. When the action of penicillin was observed and then understood at the biochemical level other antibiotics could be at first discovered and then synthesised.
Once drugs and therapies are in common usage it would be unethical to not monitor their effects and compare them to other therapies. Only with time and large numbers are we able to do that and this has become more of a reality with the developments of the internet and computers. In this way slight differences in outcome can be observed and judged statistically and these judgements placed in context alongside the need to change treatments or when considering side effects versus positive effects.
In addition, the power of genetic screening is beginning to turn up unexpected results. Some people responded well to a particular drug while others had liver damage. So the drug was withdrawn. It is only with genetic profiling, computer power, a mass of evidence and statistics is it becoming possible to predict which people could be safely given a drug which will work well for them.
So, we come to cells. Cells are the unit of function in the brain but they can fail in many ways. Parkinson’s is not a simple disease. Whatever we find out about the causes, the genetics involved, the biochemical changes in the brain, it remains a condition which is almost unique to the individual. Parkinson’s seems to be a group of symptoms with their origin in a dysfunctional part of the brain. However, the nature of the cause of the dysfunction can be varied and leads to the variety of symptoms and responses to drugs.
If we are to control, cure and prevent Parkinson’s we need to understand brain function; biochemical, anatomical and electrical. Drugs which target any one of those throws light onto the cause of the symptoms and lead us closer to a cure.
None of this will be cheap or quick and we need trained scientists to carry this out. Training has to take place in an established lab. If you think about it, how many people really believe that drug companies can do this on governmental sponsorship alone?