Jean Lud Cadet, M.D.
Those are interesting points. Professor Offen's review and some of the work from that laboratory support the idea that cell death related genes might be perturbed in patients who suffer from PD. The family of bcl-2 related genes which include both pro-apoptotic (Bax, Bad, Bcl-Xs etc) and antiapoptotic (bcl-2, bcl-XL etc) genes meet the requirements for homeostatic balance. For example, overexpression or forced dimerization of bax lead to cell demise whereas overexpression of bcl-2 confers resistance to cell death. There is also evidence that the caspases are intimately connected to these pathways because knockout of caspase 3 or 9 lead to significant development abnormalities in mice.
If the idea of perturbations in bcl-2 in neurodegenerative disorders is correct, it should be possible to develop specific treatments that mimic the mode of action of these proteins. Even if the idea is incorrect, administration of bcl-2 mimics should provide an excellent way of delaying the progression of disorders such as Parkinson's disease.