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Your Parkinson's News Update for the Week of 5.25.20

Monday May 25, 2020

Parkinson’s Grafts Benefit from Well-Timed Growth Factor

Nature

"Grafts of stem-cell-derived precursors of dopamine neurons could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but this approach has limitations." Researchers have newly discovered that injecting a growth factor three weeks after transplantation can overcome some of these limits.

 

Leukemia Drug for Parkinson's: A Second Look

American Academy of Neurology via MedPage Today

In 2016, Georgetown University researchers published some hopeful conclusions around Parkinson's and nilotinib, a drug used to battle leukemia. New follow-up research suggests otherwise.

"Nilotinib is not the best molecule to assess the therapeutic potential of c-Abl inhibition for Parkinson's disease," concludes Tanya Simuni, MD, of Northwestern University in Chicago.

"This is important to communicate because nilotinib is commercially available. The 2016 paper sparked substantial interest in the Parkinson's community and patients have been seeking the drug."
However, the findings do not refute the hypothesis that c-Abl inhibitors have potential neuroprotective effect, Simuni emphasized. "The pathway is promising," she said. "There are other molecules in development that may have different outcomes."

 

 

Gut Bacteria Affect People with Parkinson's'
Ability to Process Levodopa

News Medical Life Sciences

Like symptoms of Parkinson's, the success of prevailing treatment methods varies from person to person.There are some obstacles for even the hallmark medication, levodopa. Gut microbes, including E. fecalis, break down much of the levodopa into dopamine before it can cross out of the intestine, and dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier.

Research has shown that a molecule similar to amino acid can block E. fecalis without killing it. The administration of this molecule results in increased levodopa levels, in mice. Researcher Emily Balskus of Harvard University states , “This opens up the door to the possibility of developing a new class of therapeutics to improve patient response to levodopa – that would be drugs targeting gut microbe metabolism in addition to targeting host metabolism.”