Do 2 existing drugs hold the key to slowing or stopping Parkinson’s?

Dr Susan Duty’s investigating the impact 2 already existing drugs have on increasing a protein known for its protective effects on dopamine-producing brain cells.

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition which affects over 145,000 people in the UK. The loss of dopamine-producing cells cause symptoms of Parkinson's. Boosting the brain’s supply of a protein (called FGF20) could protect dopamine production. Providing the potential to slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s

What’s the connection between FGF20 and Parkinson’s? 

FGF20 is a protein which occurs naturally in the brain. It’s particularly important in Parkinson’s as it’s been shown to protect dopamine-producing brain cells from degeneration. But there’s not enough FGF20 naturally in the brain to do this. So how do we boost these levels? 

Boosting FGF20

In Dr Duty’s first project, she examined the potential of over 1000 drugs to boost the brain’s natural production of FGF20, instead of having to introduce it artificially. She narrowed the search down to 2 drugs which showed potential, Triflusal and Salbutamol. Triflusal is currently used to reduce inflammation and blood clots and Salbultamol is used to treat asthma. 

Now Dr Duty wants to find out if these 2 drugs will slow down the progression of Parkinson’s in rodent models of the condition. 

These drugs have already been proven safe for humans in clinical trials. So if they do boost the levels of FGF20 and slow down the progression of Parkinson’s in rodent models, the clinical trials process can be fast forwarded. Which is really exciting, and means we can move to a new treatment much quicker.  

This is groundbreaking research where the results won’t just be seen in the lab. They’ll be seen in real, life-changing breakthroughs for people with Parkinson’s. And they’ll be seen sooner with your support.


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What effect would this have for people with Parkinson’s? 

If we find a way to boost dopamine production, we might be able to slow down or stop Parkinson’s progression. Or, if these drugs are found to help repair damaged dopamine-producing cells, we hope they could even reverse it.

This project could be life-changing for people with Parkinson’s. Donate now and be part of the science accelerating these research breakthroughs. 

"I'm determined to find a cure"

- Dr Susan Duty

Want to find out more?

  • Read this article by the research team about the project
  • Explore the project in more depth in this blog by Dr Katherine Fletcher
  • Interested in learning more about drug repurposing? Read this blog by Annie Amjad