Researchers make important Parkinson’s breakthrough

Scientists discover why a cancer drug is able to alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms.

Researchers make important Parkinson’s breakthrough

Laboratory and animal studies have found that a drug (nilotinib) used to treat leukemia can help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Now, using early results from a clinical trial in humans, scientists at the Georgetown University Medical Centre in the United States have worked out how the drug reduces toxic proteins in the brain and increases levels of dopamine.

The loss of dopamine in the brain causes many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including motor dysfunction.

In a recently published report, investigators found that a single low dose of the leukemia drug nilotinib reduced levels of a toxic protein that prevents the brain from using dopamine that is stored in tiny vesicles, or pockets, in brain areas that may control movement.

The researchers say nilotinib appears to rev up the ability of immune cells within the brain to reduce the constant flow of the misshapen alpha-synuclein protein produced by damaged neurons, allowing normal alpha-synuclein to facilitate the release of stored dopamine. 

“We detect the drug in the brain producing multiple effects, including improving dopamine metabolism,” said study author Dr Charbel Moussa. “This is unprecedented for any drug now used to treat Parkinson’s disease.”

The research team examined cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and plasma collected from patients participating in the clinical trial to examine Parkinson’s disease biomarkers. The CSF was collected after a single dose of nilotinib or placebo was administered.

“When the drug is used, levels of these breakdown molecules quickly rise. This is what we also found in our preclinical studies and proof of concept clinical trial,” says Dr Moussa.

“This is exciting because this kind of potential treatment for Parkinson’s could increase use of a patient’s own dopamine instead of using or periodically increasing drugs that mimic dopamine.”

They also found 150mg doses of nilotinib treatment led to a significant reduction of alpha-synuclein in the blood, outside of the CSF. Alpha-synuclein is typically very high, and may be toxic, in the blood of Parkinson’s disease patients.

Dr Moussa explains that under normal circumstances, the brain stores as much dopamine neurotransmitter as it can and uses it regularly to transmit messages across neurons.

Research suggests that normal alpha-synuclein helps maintain the vesicles that dopamine is stored in and helps release the neurotransmitter when needed. But in Parkinson’s disease, dopamine-secreting neurons produce alpha-synuclein that is folded up (misfolded), and so cannot mediate dopamine re-cycling and breakdown. Eventually, more and more dopamine-secreting neurons emit the tangled protein and die.

How long do you think it will be before scientists discover a cure for Parkinson’s disease?

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    COMMENTS

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    arbee
    11th Apr 2019
    4:27pm
    Will be interesting to see if this drug is of any help with advanced patients whose brains have totally stopped producing dopamine and who have to rely entirely on medications to replace it.
    Jennie
    11th Apr 2019
    5:35pm
    This drug has some nasty side effects...
    http://chemocare.com/chemotherapy/drug-info/Nilotinib.aspx
    arbee
    11th Apr 2019
    8:53pm
    Unfortunately so do most Parkinson's drugs. Some of them over the past 10 years had made my wife's life sheer hell. She had the DBS surgery about 3 years ago and was able to reduce the drug intake quiet substantially, and has a much better lifestyle now.
    Jennie
    11th Apr 2019
    9:28pm
    It's such good news that your wife has had a good result from the DBS surgery. I think it probably depends on the skill of the surgeon as I know someone to whom the surgery made no difference. This poor man also had dreadful insomnia from the Parkinson's drugs (and probably other side effects (which I don't know about.)
    arbee
    12th Apr 2019
    1:08am
    Sometimes it also about the ego of the neurologists as well. The first neuro she went to told her I am the only one in SA qualified enough to know who should and who should not have DBS surgery, and as long as I am on the board that recommends them you will never have it. After asking around we found another Neuro who specialised in Parkinsons and after he ran all of the tests, he said yes you will qualify and organized the surgeon to carry it out. She now has a slight speech impediment that wasn't there before but all of the violent shaking and diskenesia has totally gone. She now has a lifestyle whereas before she had none.
    ROB
    11th Apr 2019
    7:06pm
    Why oh why, do researchers only come up with crazy drugs complete with a bucket load of harmful side effects that are more likely to create further issues rather than "Fix" anything? Do they even realise we can now even replace dangerous Stem Cell procedures with a simple easy to use, LOW COST, far more effective, proven product that people can easily use themselves in their own home?
    arbee
    11th Apr 2019
    8:54pm
    Just what is that product. I am sure if it is so good people would like to know what it is.
    Jennie
    11th Apr 2019
    9:29pm
    Sorry arbee, ROB is an advertiser. He often advertises on this site.
    ROB
    11th Apr 2019
    10:07pm
    arbee and Jennie, we are NOT advertisers of a product (It is never advertised) but we do personally support people using the product and do this with over 11,000 people around the world (medical professionals included) and FREE of CHARGE for our time! If you are in South Australia we have regular meetings where people are learning about the product both in Adelaide and the Barossa, similar in other states when we can. Ask about, you will learn more as more people realise the benefits. The word is X39.
    Jennie
    11th Apr 2019
    10:39pm
    X39 appears to be a bus route.
    arbee
    12th Apr 2019
    12:41am
    Rob, there have been snake oil salesmen around for hundreds of years now, and maybe in the short term they have given people a psychological boost for a while but then it all disappears again. Please tell us how many Parkinson's sufferers have had their disease cured by this product and maybe we will take notice of you. By the way, I mean actual people in SA, not glorified written accounts by untraceable overseas people.
    arbee
    12th Apr 2019
    12:59am
    Just did a google search on your you beaut X39, and in its promo not once does it mention it being of any help for Parkinsons, so I think you better go back to the traveling circuses with the other snake oil salesmen. By the way, Mannatech in the USA have a product called Ambrotose which does far more than your product ever will. I have a niece who twelve years ago was told to go home and make the most out of the last few months of her life as she had in-operable brain cancer according to every neuro surgeon in Adelaide. She went onto a heavy dosage of ambrotose and went to see Charlie Teo in Sydney who operated on her from the top of her head and removed about 60% of the tumor. He said you will need to recover for about 12 months before I can try to remove the rest. When she went back to Charlie for further scans, he said I don't know what has happened, but the rest of the tumor has disappeared and no further surgery is required. That was about 12 years ago and she is living quite a reasonable lifestyle now. Her balance is not perfect, but the tumor had caused a lot of brain damage.I have also had my brother in law and brother who have had serious cancers and have had their tumors disappear as well after taking this product
    Jennie
    12th Apr 2019
    8:40am
    Charlie Teo is the absolute best!
    Jennie
    12th Apr 2019
    11:53am
    Arbee, I too did a search on the "Life Wave" X39 some months ago due to ROB's advertising and came to the same conclusion as you. These "wonder substances" can only work by placebo, which can be dangerous as proper medical treatment can be delayed. We might remember that homeopathy is plain water and it's a disgrace that pharmacists will still sell it.
    arbee
    12th Apr 2019
    12:27pm
    Charlie is probably one of the best brain surgeons in the world. When my niece told local neuro's that she was going to see charlie after they told her nothing could be done for her, they strongly advised against seeing him as he had skeletons in his closet, talk about professional jealousy. Charlie always tells his patients that the surgery is not without risk, but the alternative is a slow painful death for them as he usually ends up with the patients no one else will operate on.


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