Until the ultimate goal of finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD) is achieved, researchers are taking various approaches to developing a treatment that significantly slows its progression. Here, clinical science and basic science come together to understand the underlying biological mechanisms of PD and then using that knowledge to test medications that target those mechanisms. Having discovered such molecular and cellular malfunctions, scientists may tailor the development of medications to target the underlying causes of the disease.
Another approach has also relied on knowing the mechanisms of the disease but then searching through the vast array of current drugs to treat all sorts of conditions and rationally choosing ones that may work to slow progression of PD – so-called drug repurposing. Dr. Patrik Brundin, Director of the Parkinson’s Disease Center at Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, explains that this is the approach that the International Linked Clinical Trials (iLCT) program for Parkinson’s has taken. Since its inception in 2010, the iLCT has become one of the most comprehensive drug repurposing programs focused on a single disease. Under this program, seven clinical trials have been completed, and 15 are ongoing, testing 16 potential candidate drugs to slow the progression of PD. The advantage is that the drugs under consideration have already been tested for safety and how they act in the body, speeding up the process of applying them to Parkinson’s.
- Understanding Parkinson’s: Clinical Trials
- Research: PD Clinical Trials
- Episode 108: The Golden Year for Testing Disease Modifying Drugs (podcast)
- Episode 88: The Skinny on Clinical Trials in PD (podcast)
About This Episode
Released: October 19, 2021
Patrik Brundin MD, PhD
Deputy Chief Scientific Officer, Van Andel Institute, Director, Center for Parkinson’s Disease, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Patrik Brundin earned his PhD in 1988 and MD in 1992, both from Lund University, Sweden, and joined the Van Andel Institute in 2012. He is highly cited in neuroscience with more than 400 publications on Parkinson’s disease and related topics. His research focuses on pathogenic mechanisms of Parkinson’s and development of therapies that slow or stop disease progression or that repair damaged brain circuits. He is a member of the World Parkinson Coalition Board of Directors and The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Executive Scientific Advisory Board. He also serves as co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease and chair of the Linked Clinical Trials scientific committee.
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