Two New Areas Of Parkinson Disease Research

The leukemia drug Tasigna (nilotinib) improved cognition and motor functions in patients with Parkinson’s disease in a small clinical trial. Credit: Novartis

The leukemia drug Tasigna (nilotinib) improved cognition and motor functions in patients with Parkinson’s disease in a small clinical trial. Credit: Novartis

Thanks to everyone who send in articles and links about the woman who can smell Parkinson’s disease and the cancer drug that may reverse symptoms. Scientists will be pursuing these two new areas of Parkinson Disease research.

Joy Milne noticed a change in how her husband smelled long before he was diagnosed with PD. After she joined a support group, she found the same distinct odor in other people with PD. She happened to mention this to a scientist who decided to test her. A study with 12 people was formed – 6 with PD and 6 in a control group. Joy identified 11 people correctly… until one of the people who had not been diagnosed yet, found out he had PD a few months after Joy’s experiment.

It may change the way PD is diagnosed, which by the way is still pretty much the same as Dr. James Parkinson did in 1817 by observing symptoms. Read the article from the BBC here.

Tasigna (nilotinib), a leukemia drug, showed promising results to slow or halt progression of PD in a very small (12 people) phase I trial. Researchers from Georgetown University reported substantial improvement of symptoms and evidence of impact on the disease biology. Nilotinib works to stimulate the cellular clearance system. In leukemia, it helps clear out cancer cells. In Parkinson’s it may help dispose of the toxic protein clumps that lead to dopamine cell death.

While the results are promising, the trial was “open label” (gold standard for research is double-blind) and participants took the drug for six months only. It still has to be determined if the drug is safe for people with Parkinson’s who would have to take it for the rest of their lives. Read the Forbes article here.

At The NeuroCommunity Foundation we support research by serving as a liaison for local studies and by announcing opportunities for online studies on this interactive site. The number of Americans living with Parkinson’s disease has now surpassed one million, and 60,000 more are diagnosed each year. The gold standard of treatment – carbidopa/levodopa – was developed in the 60’s. The cure cannot come soon enough for patients and their families. Before you point a finger of blame at anyone else for the slowness of this process, ask yourself whether you are doing all you can by participating in trials and studies. According to Michael J. Fox Foundation 50,000+ people are on Fox Trial Finder.

Make sure you are on The NeuroCommunity Foundation Research Contact List, sign up on Fox Trial Finder, and most important: make a commitment to participate in surveys, wellness studies, and other research opportunities.

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is here for you:

For information about Parkinson’s disease and movement disorders, support groups, wellness programs, education events, and local resources in northern Los Angeles county, Ventura county, Central Coast & Central Valley, contact us here or call 818-885-8623 to speak with Viviane Tondeur, Education Director, Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Information Center at CARE, The NeuroCommunity Foundation.

Comments

  1. This is absolutely the most marvelous news I’ve heard lately! Let’s keep our hopes alive, don’t give in!

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