Human trials are set to begin next year after researchers uncovered that drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes could be used to slow Parkinson’s disease progression, the Science Daily reports.
Parkinson’s Disease is a “progressive disease of the nervous system,” effecting over 10 million middle-aged and elderly people in the world which seems to get worse over time, but scientists say there may be a new breakthrough in medical science since levodopa, which is a drug created in the 1960s to treat Parkinson’s disease.
In a recent study, scientists at the Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science in Great Rapids, Michigan, found that MSDC-0160, which is an insulin sensitizer designed by Kalamazoo, a Metabolic Solutions Development Company, may be able to treat Parkinson’s disease.
In 2012, Dr. Patrik Brundin, who is the director of Van Andel Research Institute’s Center for Neurodegenerative Science, chairman of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Linked Clinical Trials Committee, and the study’s senior author, thought MSDC-0160 would be the perfect drug candidate because of its “mode of action, proven safety in people, local availability and the start-up company’s interest in collaborating on drug repurposing initiatives.”
After conducting research on the drug for four years, the outcome exceeded his expectations.
“We hope this will be a watershed moment for millions of people living with Parkinson’s disease,” Brundin said.
“All of our research in Parkinson’s models suggests this drug could potentially slow the disease’s progression in people as well.”
Tom Isaacs, the co-founder of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, has been living with Parkinson’s disease for 22 years and says that “our scientific team has evaluated more than 120 potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease, and MSDC-0160 offers the genuine prospect of being a breakthrough that could make a significant and permanent impact on people’s lives in the near future.”
“We are working tirelessly to move this drug into human trials as quickly as possible in our pursuit of a cure.”
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease and as the human lifespan continues to grow, scientists expect more people to be effected by the disease. However, if the human clinical trials are a success, this could mean that MSDC-0160 would be the world’s first therapy treatment to improve the quality of life and slowing Parkinson’s disease progression.
Those suffering from Parkinson’s disease will be less likely to experience frequent falls and cognitive decline. Brundin stated that MSDC-0160 may even “reduce or delay the need for medications that can have debilitating side effects.”
It was also reported that the laboratory experiments suggested that the new drug may reduce neuroinflammation.
Researchers say Parkinson’s disease and diabetes may seem like completely different diseases, but in fact, studies have shown that “some of the underlying molecular mechanisms share similarities.”
“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming trial for Parkinson’s, we now have a new road to follow,” said Brundin.
The drug used to treat type 2 diabetes have only been tested on mice and it seemed to show signs of improvement in “motor function, maintaining dopamine production, and protecting the cells lost in a number of models of the condition,” according to Claire Bale, who is the head of research at communications and engagement at Parkinson’s UK, which is a charity based in London.
There have been other drugs tested, but they often showed signs of serious side effects; the new drug, MSDC-0160, however, seems to have a “better safety profile.”
Clinical trials on humans are set to begin next year, but a specific date has not been released. Bale added that researchers are hoping to test “people in the early stages of the disease where the protective properties of the drug are likely to have the greatest impact.”
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