Protein Discovery Could Spur 'Gold Rush' for New Drugs Identification of key brain proteins could aid treatment of conditions By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Dec 20, 2010 9:09 AM CST 5 comments Comments The identification of key brain proteins could help in the treatment of many conditions. (Shutter Stock) (Newser) – Scientists are hailing a potential breakthrough in the treatment of 130 conditions following the identification of more than 1,400 crucial brain proteins. When faulty, these proteins have been found to contribute to conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, autism, and learning disabilities, and their identification could accelerate the development of new drugs and better diagnostic tools. “There is a potential gold rush, a whole new frontier for drug discovery,” says one scientist. And because these proteins are often "repeat offenders," drugs that treat multiple illnesses could be developed, the Daily Mail reports. The proteins in question reside inside brain synapses, which connect nerve cells. It has long been known that faulty synapses play a role in many conditions, but the newly identified proteins will likely improve treatment of those conditions.