A REVOLUTIONARY new drug to fight Parkinson’s disease has shown promise in halting its progression.
Victorian researchers have spent six years developing a new synthetic compound which they hope will form the next generation of therapies for the debilitating neurological disease that afflicts thousands of Australians.
Although still in the early stages of development, associate professor David Finkelstein, head of Florey Institute’s Parkinson’s disease laboratory, said the drug had shown promising results.
It is designed to slow the progression of PD, unlike other therapies which treat the symptoms of the disease.
Prof Finkelstein presented new data on the drug known as PBT434 at the 17th annual congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Sydney this week.
He said in animal models the synthetic compound had prevented cell death by stopping destructive interactions in the brain between dopamine and iron. It also prevented the accumulation of alpha synuclein protein.
“It has been designed to bind to iron, stopping it from interacting with the dopamine, which causes oxidative stress, and to stop alpha synuclein aggregating,” Prof Finkelstein said.
He said the next step would be to trial the drug in humans, which was expected to take place within two years.
Prof Finkelstein said it was important to point out to the Australians currently suffering from the disease that the drug was still only in early stages of development.
“The problem with translating basic science into the clinic is a very large one, so we don’t want to give people false hope,” he said.
“But this is a unique way of moving forward that no one else has thought of, and it is our hope that this will actually be tried in people within two years.”
PD is a progressive neurological condition that causes tremors, loss of balance and coordination and can lead to mental health issues.
The research has received funding from The Michael J Fox Foundation and the National Health and Medical Research Council.
Article Source: Daily Telegraph