Tuesday January 21, 2020

Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s

Immunosuppresive drugs likely to keep Parkinson's at bay

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Your work emails can affect your health, relationships
Your work emails can affect your health, relationships Pixabay

People who are on drugs to suppress their immune system are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease — a neurological disorder characterised by tremors, slow movements, stiffness and difficulty walking, a new study claimed.

The results, published in the journal Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, showed that people with several types of autoimmune diseases, including ulcerative colitis were less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s than the general population.

The investigators noted that many autoimmune diseases have one common thing, that is, they are treated with drugs that dampen immune activity.

“We’ve found that taking certain classes of immunosuppressant drugs reduces the risk of developing Parkinson’s. One group of drugs in particular looks really promising and warrants further investigation to determine whether it can slow disease progression,” said Brad Racette from Washington University-St. Louis in the US.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The study showed that people taking corticosteroids — used for treating inflammatory diseases — such as prednisone were 20 per cent less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s, while those on inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMDH)– an enzyme — inhibitors were about one-third less likely.

While, immunosuppresive drugs may keep Parkinson’s at bay, it may ,however, increase the chances of developing infectious diseases and cancer.

The benefits of these drugs outweigh the costs for people with serious autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis but doctors would probably hesitate to prescribe risky drugs to healthy people to stave off Parkinson’s, especially since there is no reliable way to predict who is on track to develop the disease, the team explained.

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“What we really need is a drug for people who are newly diagnosed, to prevent the disease from worsening. It’s a reasonable assumption that if a drug reduces the risk of getting Parkinson’s, it also will slow disease progression, and we’re exploring that now,” Racette said.

For the study, the team analysed prescription drug data on 48,295 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s and 52,324 people never diagnosed with Parkinson’s and developed an algorithm to predict which people would be diagnosed with the disease. (IANS)

Next Story

Cancer Drugs Can Be Used To Treat Pulmonary Diseases: Study

Studies have been investigating the effect of drugs used to treat a variety of cancers on this inflammatory response

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Cancer
The research discovered that specific cancer drugs inhibit a cell signalling process controlling the death-rate of the harmful neutrophils. Pixabay

Certain class of cancer drugs could be used in the future to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), say researchers, adding that the drugs could be developed to stop the progression of the disease and promote healing within the lungs.

COPD makes breathing progressively more difficult for millions of people around the world, and the study, published in the journal eLIFE has shown the potential for clinically available cancer treatments to treat it.

“COPD is usually treated with steroids and airway muscle relaxants which ease symptoms, but there is currently no effective treatment clinically available to counteract the damage it does to the lungs,” said study researcher Lynne Prince from the University of Sheffield in UK.

“Our research now shows that inhibitors of these cell signalling processes, or ErbB kinases, could have therapeutic potential in neutrophilic inflammatory disease,” Prince added. According to the researchers, the hope of these drugs is that they can clear the damaging cells from the lungs of people living with COPD, preventing any further damage and therefore the progression of the disease for the first time.

They have been investigating the effect of drugs used to treat a variety of cancers on this inflammatory response; the main driver of lung damage in people living with COPD.

People living with COPD experience a wide range of symptoms that have an increasing impact on their quality of life, including breathlessness, coughing and frequent chest infections. The damage to the lungs is driven by inflammation caused by immune cells called neutrophils.

For the results, the research team screened a library of cancer drugs and identified a number of compounds which accelerate the death of the neutrophil cells and promote healing in the lungs.

The research discovered that specific cancer drugs inhibit a cell signalling process controlling the death-rate of the harmful neutrophils. The team also discovered that editing the genes that encode the cell signalling in the first place, further decreased inflammation.

Cancer
Certain class of cancer drugs could be used in the future to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), say researchers, adding that the drugs could be developed to stop the progression of the disease and promote healing within the lungs. Pixabay

“As neutrophilic inflammation is also central to the progression of other chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, the research has the potential to impact not only people living with COPD,” said study researcher Stephen Renshaw from the University of Sheffield in UK.

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“Our next step is to find a way to test these drugs in people with COPD to understand how the ErbB kinase signalling process has an effect on lung inflammation and to address any potential side effects,” Renshaw added. (IANS)