A hope exists that new Leukemia drug could also slow Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases

Birth of a hope

Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and a million more from Parkinson’s, but the medical community has still not developed a way to either cure those diseases or even slow down their development. This could all change with the start of the new round of testing of the revolutionary drug that has been shown to provide many beneficiary effects to the leukemia patients. Medical researchers are hoping that this drug could provide meaningful change in the way these two serious neurodegenerative disease can impact their patients, their lifestyles, and their families.

 

A small-scale test of the drug called nilotinib managed to significantly change the brain chemistry in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients, which led to doctors to start devising a plan for much more involved tests. During this small test, this drug

“significantly increased brain dopamine (the chemical lost as a result of neuronal destruction) and reduced toxic proteins linked to disease progression.”

 

Doctor J. Paul Taylor, chair of the cell and molecular biology department at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has said that


“It was such a small trial, there was no placebo control and it really wasn’t designed to assess efficacy.”

Next round of twin tests will be conducted at Georgetown, under the guidance of Fernando Pagan, medical director of the translational neurotherapeutics program, who has said that

“this is going to help us identify what might have been a placebo effect and what is truly the effect of the medication.”

He continued:

“If the results of this trial don’t turn out to be as exciting as the very tiny trial suggested, I would not get too pessimistic because there are other developments that are in the wings.”

 

Birth of a hope

The entire extent of this trial will last a full year, and it will provide us with the understanding of how these diseases function, how they impact the brain, and how they can lead to the development of other potential treatments. One trial will be focused on Alzheimer’s patients, while other will test only Parkinson’s patients.

 

According to the press release, the form of the Parkinson’s test will have the following form:

“The clinical trial is a phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study designed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of low doses of nilotinib, the efficacy on disease biomarkers, and clinical outcomes in people with mid-stage Parkinson’s disease.”

Doctors who have seen the early animal trials of this leukemia drug feel very optimistic about this upcoming human trial. Jonathan Lessin, a retired anesthesiologist who is suffering Parkinson’s has said:

“I’ve seen it cure Parkinson’s in mice. I’ve seen people who can talk again, walk again, which is very encouraging.”

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