The first participant has been recruited for a groundbreaking clinical trial that is testing a new drug called NLX-112 that can be used for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which parts of the brain are gradually damaged over many years. The three main symptoms manifest themselves in involuntary shaking of parts of the body, slow movements and stiff, inflexible muscles.
People with Parkinson’s are struggling to make enough dopamine. They are taking medications like levodopa that help their struggling dopamine cells make more of this chemical and help improve the symptoms, especially difficulty moving.
But serotonin cells also become involved in using levodopa to make and release dopamine, but they do so in an unpredictable way. This uncontrolled release of dopamine leads to painful uncontrollable movements called dyskinesia.
The experiment is led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and in 4 other places in Sweden. A total of 24 participants will be involved, of which 16 will receive NLX-112 and the rest an inactive pill (placebo) for comparison.
Promising new medicine for Parkinson’s
NLX-112 has shown promising results in the lab to reduce dyskinesia caused by the drug Levodopa, which is a common and painful side effect of current medications for Parkinson’s. Dyskinesia causes involuntary movements that can affect different parts of the body, making simple, everyday tasks such as tying your shoelaces difficult.
The clinical trial aims to assess whether NLX-112 is safe and well tolerated by people suffering from Parkinson’s disease who also experience dyskinesia. It will also analyze how the drug can reduce dyskinesia and other non-motor symptoms such as depression and disturbed sleep.
Adrian Newman-Tancredi, PhD, DSc, CEO of Neurolixis, commented: “We are very pleased that this important trial is now underway, and the first participant has been recruited. The pandemic has made getting to this point more challenging and time consuming than “We had hoped, but we are now anxious to make up for lost time. If recruitment for the study proceeds smoothly, we are hopeful that we will have results to share by the end of 2022.”
Funded by leading charities
Parkinson’s UK and The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), two leading charities, have raised £ 1.5 million ($ 2 million) to fund the Phase 2 clinical trial, sponsored by the biopharmaceutical company Neurolixis.
Dr Arthur Roach, Head of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: ‘We are delighted to support this study which aims to deliver a treatment that is desperately needed by many people living with Parkinson’s. It’s amazing that recruitment is now underway as this milestone takes us one step closer to results that could reveal an important new therapy for the millions living with this condition around the world. ”
Marco Baptista, PhD, Vice President of Research Programs at MJFF, also said: “A treatment for dyskinesia would significantly improve the quality of life for millions with Parkinson’s experiencing this common drug side effect. We are proud to partner with Parkinson’s UK and Neurolixis and the study volunteers for to promote this therapy in testing. “
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