Sunday February 17, 2019

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

0
//
Your work emails can affect your health, relationships
Your work emails can affect your health, relationships Pixabay

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.

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

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)

Next Story

Smart Garments to Prevent Falls in Parkinson’s Patients

In addition, clinicians can monitor participants' progress remotely and adjust the programme to provide ongoing and personalised continuity of care

0
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

A team of researchers are in the process of developing smart garment technologies that would prevent falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Falls, which are frequently caused by gait impairments and postural instability, are common and often devastating in the lives of people with Parkinson’s – a neurodegenerative disease.

The researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) are set to make StandingTall-PD — a neuro-rehabilitation programme — that aims to prevent freezing-of-gait and falls, and enhance patients’ independence.

The programme uses visual, audio and haptic sensory cues to help rewire the parts of the brain that control walking and preventing falls in people with Parkinson’s disease.

The combination of visual, audio and sensory elements helps to form new connections in less affected parts of the brain, leading to improved walking ability, the researchers said.

Now, smart garments to prevent falls in Parkinson’s patients.

“Existing dopamine therapies offer benefit in treating motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s but may not alleviate gait and balance challenges,” said Jamie L. Hamilton, Associate Director at the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) in the US.

“The new programme has the potential to become an affordable option to address gait and balance issues and improve overall quality of life for people with Parkinson’s,” said Hamilton.

For the study, researchers will give participants a mat with colour-coded stepping targets, a pair of Sensoria Smart Socks, an iPad and phone.

Also Read- India to Train 45 Countries in Nano-satellite Making

The programme can help enable participants to self-manage and monitor their own progress via an app on their phone. The app can also trigger stimuli during everyday activities, such as vibration in their Smart Socks, if they are in danger of experiencing freezing-of-gait, falls or if they show signs of shuffling feet.

In addition, clinicians can monitor participants’ progress remotely and adjust the programme to provide ongoing and personalised continuity of care. (IANS)