Targeting gut bacteria to treat Parkinson’s symptoms

Dr Richard GordonA clinical trial looking at constipation and gut dysfunction is now underway at the University of Queensland. The trial will determine if a targeted treatment can restore specific beneficial gut bacteria that are known to be substantially reduced in people with Parkinson’s. The latest scientific thinking suggests a strong link between gut bacteria and Parkinson’s – particularly around the harmful role that altered gut bacteria and their metabolic products may play in contributing to the disease process”

A significant issue for people with Parkinson’s is a slow-down in digestive tract movement, leading to constipation – adding to the challenge of having the disease, and the negative impact on a person’s quality of life.

According to recent estimates, over 60 per cent of people with Parkinson’s experience constipation and other gastrointestinal issues.

The Queensland Drug Repurposing Initiative received $1.5 million in Advance Queensland funding to build infrastructure and research capacity to accelerate clinical trials for neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s using approaches such as drug repurposing.

Project partners include Wesley Medical Research who support and drive innovative clinical trials and medical research, Shake It Up Australia Foundation, New Zealand nutraceutical ingredients company Anagenix Ltd and Brisbane-based biotechnology company Microba Life Sciences.

“Our first clinical trial will use a proprietary bacterial substrate developed by Anagenix Ltd., which we believe can restore specific populations of beneficial bacteria that are progressively reduced in people Parkinson’s as the disease progresses”

“While the focus of this trial will be on constipation and gut function, the research we perform on the patient samples from this study, will provide us with valuable insights into the potential of this approach to reduce inflammation and other pathological processes associated Parkinson’s disease progression. This will tell us if similar treatment strategies targeting gut bacteria may have the potential to slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s, which is the ultimate goal of our research program” Dr Gordon said.

QDRI Research Lead, Dr Richard Gordon, said the clinical trial will be enrolling participants from South-East Queensland at hospitals across Brisbane and the Gold Coast until the end of 2021.

In our April 2021 Virtual Research Forum Dr Richard Gordon presented on his research