Could one drug halt conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
in their tracks?
25 July 2012
New research offers hope that a single pill may have the
potential to treat a range of brain conditions including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and multiple
It's early days, but this research presents another promising avenue for developing new treatments for Parkinson's.
Dr Kieran Breen, our director of research
The research was carried out by researchers in the US
and was published today in the Journal of
The researchers are developing drugs that can protect the
brain from inflammation, which is thought to damage connections and
nerve cells in conditions such as Parkinson's.
Combating inflammation in the brain
The research team at Northwestern University in Chicago are
developing drugs that block the production of
These are small molecules believed to be
to blame for 'immune over-reaction' in conditions such as
In this study mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's
were given the drugs 3 times a week.
The mice started receiving the drug at 6 months of age - to
match the point when human patients begin to experience early
symptoms of dementia such as memory loss.
By 11 months these mice would normally be expected to have
developed full-blown Alzheimer's.
But the drug seemed to protect their brains from damage and
reduce their cytokine levels to normal.
These findings offer great hope for treating other brain
conditions including Parkinson's.
Taking the next step
Two of the drugs, known as MW151 and MW189, have been
patented by US scientists at Northwestern University in
These new drugs are already being tested in very early stage
The results from these studies have yet to be announced but will
tell us if these new drugs are safe.
And hopefully this will lead on to larger studies looking at the
effectiveness of the drugs for people with conditions such as
Another potential new avenue for Parkinson's research
Dr Kieran Breen, our
director of research and innovation (pictured right),
"It's early days, but this research presents another promising
avenue for developing new treatments for Parkinson's.
"We're currently funding research ourselves to better understand
inflammation, and studies such as Tracking
Parkinson's to find ways to diagnose Parkinson's at the
earliest possible stage - when new drugs like these would be at
their most effective.
"The possibility of one pill that can slow the development of
Parkinson's is really exciting."