Recent comments

  • Reply to: The Futile Hunt for Disease Modifying Therapies   3 years 2 months ago

    Ben Stecher concurs with Prof Kiebulzz in challenging the term "disease modifying therapy" but I disagree. This phrase gives a positive direction for investigators and potential clinical triallists. At this stage of our knowledge, the universal definition of Parkinson's disease is still debated and needs more research to clarify its diverse origins.

    Diabetes, some decades ago, was a disease with well recognised symptoms and complications but multiple aetiologies. Insulin controlled the symptoms and reduced the complications. But now with much clearer knowledge of its multiple aetiologies, specific treatments other than insulin have been developed to target the individual disease processes.

    It is remarkable that despite all the research into Parkinson's disease, current treatments control the symptoms but do not influence the natural history of the disorder, and there are duration related side effects. It is remarkable also most reports of disease modifying therapy in Parkinson's disease come from serendipitous observation of "pre-purposed drugs" that were developed to treat unrelated conditions. For example, exanatide and liraglutide (glucagon-like peptide or GLP-1 agonists) have been shown in animal models to normalise brain dopaminergic function. Two clinical trials indicate that in moderately advanced disease, significant improvements in rating scales for activities of daily living and motor function, and scales for cognitive function, occur and persist for one year after ceasing the therapy.

    Also very recent reports of the benefits of terazosin and related compounds (Alpha-1-adrenergic blocking agents), used for the urinary symptoms of prostate disease and/or for hypertension - slows or prevents neuro-degeneration. A prospective study confirmed benefits in a small number of patients. But the important research came from the Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative database, showing that this class of drug reduced hospital or clinic visits, disease complications, as well as specific scores for walking/gait/coordination measures, for and neuropsychiatric scores. The diagnosis of new Parkinson's disease was reduced by 38%.

    Clearly there is an important role for interrogation of available clinical trial and post marketing databases to explore drugs that may be found fortuitously to impact on the natural history of Parkinson's disease.

  • Reply to: The Next Big Thing for Monitoring Parkinson’s Disease   6 years 8 months ago

    I read your NOVA article from April about the work of Beka Solomon on the use of phages to treat Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and would like to know  how I can find out more about the progress of trials and my own potential to participate.

    I've been diagnosed with Parkinsonism in the last year, although I recall some very mild symptoms over the last decade. I am approaching age 66, and retired in June 2015.  I thank you for your efforts to keep yourself and others informed about the progress of efforts to find a cure for these two diseases, and would greatly appreciate any recent information you could provide.

    Best Regards,

    Mike Hite