2010 IoN News Archive
- Professor Alan Thompson elected as Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology
- Michael J. Fox Foundation awards IoN researcher grant to advance Parkinson's research.
- Traces of the past: computer algorithm ‘reads’ memories
- Professor Lees awarded first Lord Brain Memorial Lecture
- Award for Professor Chris Frith
- Professor John Duncan appointed as NIHR Senior Investigator
- Queen Square Symposium success
- IoN brings the scientific method to London primary schools
- Robot trainer to benefit stroke patients
- Researchers to study how the brain 'rewires itself'
- St Peter's Medal for Professor Clare Fowler
- Elections to the Academy of Medical Sciences Fellowships announced
- New website to help stroke survivors learn to read again
- Queen's Birthday Honours
- Brain study reveals that agreement is rewarding
- Wellcome Success
- Win for IoN at Shape of Science Symposium
- Research shows that two heads are better than one
- Lizard venom offers hope for Parkinson’s disease patients
- Epilepsy prizes
- Developing a cell library resource for dementia research
- Stents may double the risk of stroke in patients over 70
- Scientists identify link between introspection and brain structure
- IoN scientist lands £329k funding boost from dementia research charity.
- Study results consistent with earlier estimates of vCJD prion prevalence in Britain
- Parkinson's UK Fellowship Award
- Award for Professor Lees
- 2010-11 IoN PhD Studentship Round Now Open
- New brain imaging tests to track Huntington’s
- World-leading scientist secures funding for gene research
- Fighter pilots' brains are ‘more sensitive
- Alzheimer’s changes detectable in healthy elderly
- IoN Student wins Santander Formula One Scholarship
- New hope for cluster headache sufferers
- Prestigious European research grant awarded
- New centre brings hope to patients with muscle wasting diseases
- Prestigious stroke program grant awarded
- A role for astrocytes in learning and memory?
Lizard venom offers hope for Parkinson’s disease patients
27 August 2010
The saliva of a venomous lizard native to southwestern America and Mexico could provide a cure for patients with Parkinson’s disease.
A trial is underway at the National Hospital to establish whether the drug ‘Exenatide’ could be used to treat patients with the progressive neurological condition.
A synthetic version of this drug, originally found in the saliva of the Gila monster, is already an approved treatment for patients with diabetes.
However, laboratory evidence suggests it could also arrest the neurodegenerative process that causes Parkinson’s disease – potentially leading to a cure. Four independent groups around the world (including colleagues at the School of Pharmacy, London), have shown that this drug can improve symptoms of Parkinson’s and rescue dying cells in five different rodent models of the disease.
Dr Tom Foltynie, of the Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, and consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, who is leading the trial, said: “This is an incredibly exciting project. At present there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and the drugs currently available only relieve the symptoms, but do not arrest the underlying progressive neurodegenerative process.
“We will be studying a tried and tested drug which is used for the treatment of diabetes and are hopeful it will arrest the neurodegenerative process for Parkinson’s and provide new hope of a cure for this disabling condition.”
People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things. There’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s and it is not yet known why people get the condition. Parkinson’s doesn’t directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.
Six million diabetics worldwide inject Exenatide in the abdomen, thigh or arm, 30 to 60 minutes before the first and last meal of the day to control their glucose levels.
It works on a receptor in the gut and pancreas but is also known to act on a receptor in the brain. Dr Foltynie’s research, funded by the Cure Parkinson’s Trust and involving 40 patients in an initial phase, will seek to establish whether the effects previously seen in animals are reproduced when these receptors in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients are stimulated by subcutaneous injections of this drug.
Image above: Sleeping gila monster at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Tucson, Arizona.
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