NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Parkinson’s Drug Trial Has Researchers Optimistic

Thursday July 31, 2014

Mofina Thomas

Chicago Sun Times - Results of a Phase I clinical trial of what could be the first vaccine for Parkinson’s disease has experts cautiously optimistic.

Those results were released Thursday by the maker of the drug and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease.

The disease, a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, is believed to be caused by abnormal deposits in the brain of a protein that helps nerve cells talk to each other.

Many drugs can make movement easier or alleviate other symptoms of the disease. But no drug has been shown to effectively slow or stop the progression.

The drug being tested is known as PD01A, made by AFFiRiS AG, an Austria-based biotech company. It is supposed to stimulate the body’s immune system to produce antibodies that bind to the protein alpha-synuclein, clearing it from the brain and slowing disease progression.

Phase 1 looked only at whether PD01A was safe and tolerable to the relatively small sample of 32 people with Parkinson’s disease. The drug passed that test.

It was also found to generate alpha-synuclein-specific antibodies in 50 percent of the patients. If that is duplicated on a larger population, it could be a breakthrough for Parkinson’s disease.

“A treatment that could slow or stop Parkinson’s progression would be a game-changer for the five million worldwide living with this disease and the many more who will become at risk as our population ages,” Todd Sherer, CEO of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, said in a statement. The most recent drug trial “is one of the most promising efforts toward that goal.”

Dr. Christopher Goetz, director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Rush University Medical Center, agreed Phase I of PD01A is “very promising.”

But Goetz, who was not involved in the study, also cautioned that because testing of this drug is in the early stages, it remains to be seen whether increasing antibodies to fight alpha-synuclein actually does anything to effectively treat Parkinson’s disease.

Indeed, not everyone is convinced of that premise. And the findings are considered preliminary because they haven’t been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Dr. Jose Biller, chair of the neurology department at Loyola Medicine, said he was cautiously optimistic at what could wind up being a “significant advance” in how Parkinson’s disease is treated.

“The basic science that is behind this trial is quite robust. And therefore, while nobody can talk about guarantee ….I think that it is a very cogent approach,” he said.

That said, though, Biller, who was not involved in the study, said, “We need to wait for the [follow-up] results.”

The next study will take place in Vienna and focus on assessing the immunological and clinical effects of a boost vaccination. Recruitment is expected to begin September.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/28964893-418/drug-trial-has-parkinsons-researchers-cautiously-optimistic.html#.U-kZS7Evd3A

Recent News

Aug 14 - 16 Tips to Increase Your Mobility Confidence While Living With Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 10 - Boxers are fighting back against Parkinson’s
Aug 7 - The Importance of Oral Health in Parkinson’s Disease
Aug 7 - Researchers Gain Better Insight Into Alpha-Synuclein’s Role in Parkinson’s Disease
Jul 31 - New Digital Cognitive Assessment Tool Receives Positive FDA Review
Jul 20 - Parkinson’s DREAM Challenge Uses Mobile Sensor Data to Monitor Health Based on Movement
Jul 19 - What Young-onset Parkinson’s Can Look Like
Jul 7 - Parkinson’s Patients Have a Higher Risk of Developing Melanoma — and Vice Versa, Study Finds
Jun 27 - The rogue protein behind Parkinson’s disease may also protect your gut
Jun 26 - Do Statins Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease? Some Researchers Think So
Jun 22 - A Confused Immune System Could Be Behind Parkinson's Disease
Jun 21 - Predicting cognitive deficits in people with Parkinson’s disease
Jun 20 - Gym offers classes in noncontact boxing for Parkinson’s patients
Jun 19 - Human Limitations Could Prevent Us From Advancing in Science. AI Could Help.
Jun 13 - Brain Cell Transplants Are Being Tested Once Again For Parkinson's
Jun 12 - Smell Test May Sniff Out Oncoming Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
Jun 8 - Smartphones Track Motor Function in Parkinson's Disease
Jun 8 - GKC Enrolls First Patient in Personal KinetiGraph Trial as Part of NPF’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project
Jun 8 - Low-fat dairy intake may raise Parkinson's risk
Jun 6 - Patient Voices: Parkinson's Disease