Monday July 23, 2018

Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson’s Progression

The drug, named NLY01, is similar to compounds used to treat diabetes and is expected to move to clinical trials this year

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Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson's Progression
Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson's Progression. Pixabay
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US researchers have developed an experimental drug that potentially slows down the progression of Parkinson’s disease as well as its symptoms.

In experiments performed with cultures of human brain cells and live mouse models, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland reported that the drug blocked the degradation of brain cells that is the hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

“It is amazingly protective of target nerve cells,” said Ted Dawson, Professor at the University’s School of Medicine.

The drug, named NLY01, is similar to compounds used to treat diabetes and is expected to move to clinical trials this year.

If successful in humans, it could be one of the first treatments to directly target the progression of Parkinson’s, not just the muscle rigidity, spasmodic movements, fatigue, dizziness, dementia and other symptoms of the disorder, Dawson said in the paper published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Parkinsons
Representational image. (IANS)

In a preliminary experiment in laboratory-grown human brain cells, Dawson’s team treated human microglia — a brain cell type that sends signals throughout the central nervous system in response to infection or injury — with NLY01 and found that they were able to turn the activating signals off.

Further, the researchers injected the mice with alpha-synuclein — the protein known to be the primary driver of Parkinson’s disease — and the mice treated with NLY01 maintained normal physical function and had no loss of dopamine neurons, indicating that the drug protected against the development of Parkinson’s disease.

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In another experiment, the team used mice that were genetically engineered to naturally produce more human-type alpha-synuclein typically used to model human Parkinson’s disease that runs in families.

While under normal conditions, these so-called transgenic mice will succumb to the disease in 387 days, those treated with NLY01 extended the lives by over 120 days.

However, the experimental drug must still be tested for safety as well as effectiveness in people, Dawson cautioned. (IANS)

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Drugs That Suppress Immune System May Protect Against Parkinson’s

Immunosuppresive drugs likely to keep Parkinson's at bay

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Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson's Progression
Study: Experimental Drug can Halt Parkinson's Progression. 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)