May 16, 2017
What if there was a medication that could treat not just one, but three devastating diseases: leukemia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s? Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center are hopeful that nilotinib fits the bill. Presently approved to be used in people that have one kind of leukemia, a small trial is producing great excitement in its promising results to clear the brain of toxic proteins and aid those with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Georgetown’s medical director of the translational neurotherapeutics program, Fernando Pagan, explains it this way: “Our drug goes into the cells to turn on that garbage disposal mechanism. And if we’re able to degrade these proteins, we could potentially stop the progression of this disorder.”
Due to the encouraging results of the small trial, a larger, more in-depth trial involving 75 patients with Parkinson’s and 42 patients with Alzheimer’s disease is underway. Hopefully these results will be equally as exciting, but regardless, the many years of research that have gone into evaluating nilotinib as well as other new possible developments are helping pave the way towards practical treatment plans, or even an eventual cure.
Trials on mice with Parkinson’s disease have been encouraging, with the disease actually being cured in the mice. It has likewise proven effective in a small number of human tests in those with Parkinson’s and dementia, for which there currently is not a treatment available to stop or even slow the progression of the diseases. For patients in the first testing phase, improvements in mobility and speech were noted, as well as improvement in a variety of other areas.
The next phase of the study has already begun by currently enrolling new patients with Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. This phase is anticipated to be completed in about a year. More details concerning the upcoming Alzheimer’s study are available here, and details about the Parkinson’s study can be found here.
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