The team of international scientists had discovered that by activating Nurr1, a class of proteins found in the brain, it protects the brain's ability to generate dopamine neurons.
Dopamine, commonly known as the chemical in the brain that generates pleasurable feelings, is an important neurotransmitter that affects motor control and movement of muscles in the body.
Parkinson's disease disrupts the production of dopamine neurons and progressively causes the loss of motor control.
In laboratory tests, the scientists found that by activating Nurr1, the rats which had Parkinson's disease appeared to improve in their behaviour and showed no signs of suffering from the disease.
Assoc Prof Yoon said the team had screened about 1000 FDA-approved drugs before they found two anti-malaria drugs which worked: Chloroquine and Amodiaquine.
"Our discovery brings hope for the millions of people suffering from Parkinson's disease, as the drugs that we have found to have worked in the laboratory tests have already been used to treat malaria in patients for decades," said Assoc Prof Yoon, an expert in drug discovery and design.