Thursday, June 14, 2012

Easing Dyskinesia: PDF-funded Research from 2007 Leads to Testing of Experimental Drug

Earlier this week, PsychoGenics Inc., announced that an experimental drug for Parkinson’s, eltoprazine, seemed to reduce dyskinesia in people with Parkinson’s in early studies.  Dyskinesias are the twisting and writhing movements that occur as PD progresses – a common side effect of the medication levodopa (Sinemet®).   

Back in 2007, it was PDF-funded researcher Manolo Carta Ph.D., along with Anders Björklund, M.D., who performed the pre-clinical research that led to the identification of this drug.  At the time, while many researchers were looking at dopamine neurons as the culprit behind dyskinesias (through their interaction with levodopa), Dr. Carta’s proposal suggested something different – serotonin neurons.  His proposal led to a one-year research fellowship funded by PDF.

After completing his year of research with PDF funding during which he laid the foundation for this approach, he and his colleagues were able to investigate an experimental compounds that might help with dyskinesias.  With the support of other funders, they have now been able to study the effects of eltoprazine in people in this early stage trial – to see whether it is a viable drug treatment.

The study results announced earlier this week indicate positive news about eltoprazine’s potential to ease dyskinesia and possibly some non-motor symptoms of PD.

However, the drug will have to undergo rigorous testing – in additional people with Parkinson’s in phase II and phase III clinical trials – before we know if it’s safe and effective.  While we don’t yet know the fate of this drug, the results help us learn more about dyskinesias so we can find a solution in the future.

PDF believes it’s important to fund ideas like this so that scientists can have both the freedom to explore novel ideas for Parkinson’s and the time they need to gather data that can prove the promise of their ideas.  In Dr. Carta’s work, this proved to be the case. 

We believe this philosophy – funding creativity early on – will help researchers prove their case to other funders that can help them to further develop their ideas ... ultimately into new treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s. 

What are your thoughts? Do you or a loved one need a drug for dyskinesia?

Please share your thoughts below, and as always, call our HelpLine at (800) 457-6676 with any questions you or a loved one may have about Parkinson's.

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