Exciting new research at University College London Hospital will test the drug Exenatide as a novel treatment for people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s.
This new trial builds on several important studies including a key Parkinson’s UK-funded project led by Dr Peter Whitton at the School of Pharmacy (UCL).
Together these early studies showed that Exenatide could improve symptoms and even rescue dying nerve cells in 5 different rodent models of Parkinson’s.
What do we know about Exenatide?
Exenatide originates from the saliva of the venomous lizard the ‘Gila monster’ which is native to southwestern America and Mexico.
Exenatide is already used by around 6 million diabetics worldwide to help control their glucose levels. So we know Exenatide is safe to use in people.
We also know that Exenatide can cross from the blood into the brain.
About the new trial
The research team, led by researcher and neurologist Dr Tom Foltynie, will be recruiting 40 people with mild to moderate Parkinson’s from the London area to take part in the 12 month trial.
Half of the participants will be randomly assigned to receive Exenatide and half will act as a comparison group.
The researchers will carefully monitor symptoms in both groups. They hope to show that Exenatide can slow the development of Parkinson's - something no current treatments can do.
Working together to find a cure for Parkinson's
Dr Kieran Breen, our Director of Research and Development, comments:
"It’s fantastic to see innovative research funded by Parkinson’s UK reaching the next level.
"Our funding for Dr Peter Whitton's exciting project 2 years ago helped prove the potential of Exenatide – providing a launchpad for this new trial which will be funded by our colleagues the Cure Parkinson's Trust.
"Over the next 5 years we'll be investing more than £25million in research to bring us closer to a cure.
"But we can't do it alone.The international Parkinson's research community must pull together and collaborate on projects like this to make sure we get there as soon as we can."
Source Parkinson's Soc