Our research leads to new trial of 'iron removal' drug for
12 September 2011
Exciting new research at Imperial College London Hospital is
getting underway to test deferiprone - a drug that helps remove
excess iron from the body - as a new treatment for Parkinson's.
If effective, deferiprone may prove to be a vital drug for slowing the progression of Parkinson's.
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research and Innovation
This trial involves 45 people with Parkinson's.
It will test whether deferiprone can improve the
symptoms of Parkinson's or even slow the progression of the
condition - something no current drug can do.
What does deferiprone do?
Deferiprone is used to treat conditions, like the blood disorder
thalassaemia, where there is too much iron present in the body.
It works by combining with iron to form a complex that the body
can remove, and this reduces the level of iron in the body.
This new trial of deferiprone builds on existing research that
we have funded:
- Researchers using human brain tissue from the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank found that the nerve
cells affected in Parkinson's contain too much iron.
- Parkinson's UK-funded research suggests that increased levels
of iron in the brain may play a part in nerve cell death.
- Studies have shown that deferiprone can improve symptoms of
Parkinson's and rescue dying nerve cells in 5 different rodent
models of the condition.
Taking discoveries to the next level
Dr Kieran Breen, our
Director of Research and Innovation, comments:
"It's great to see research funded by Parkinson's UK reaching
the next level.
"In particular, this new trial highlights the vital importance
of the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank.
"Without the initial studies using human brain tissue from our
Brain Bank, we wouldn't have known that iron levels are higher
inside the Parkinson's brain, and this new study wouldn't be
"If effective, deferiprone may prove to be a vital drug for
slowing the progression of Parkinson's."
Take part in the new trial
The research team at Imperial College London is looking for
people recently diagnosed with Parkinson's - or without Parkinson's
- to take part in a small clinical trial. You must be aged 50
to 75 and live in the greater London area.
To take part, or for more information, contact Dr David Dexter
at Imperial College London, on 020 7594 6665 or
Not for you? Take a
look at other studies that may need participants.