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UCL School of Pharmacy plays key role in development of diabetes drug for use in Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a devastating illness, usually affecting people over the age of 50, but in some cases much younger. The incidence of PD is increasing as the average age of the population rises. There will be an approximate 30 % increase in patient numbers by 2020 with associated loss of life quality and the need for carers and associated costs. Current therapies merely manage PD symptoms in the relatively short term, but these worsen in any event and there are severe side effects. Exendin-4 (exenatide; Byetta) is used in type II diabetes, but was proposed to have neuroprotective properties.

Following this theme, work by Dr Peter Whitton’s group at the UCL School of Pharmacy (funded by Parkinson’s UK and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust) revealed exendin-4 to be highly effective in pre-clinical models of PD. Subsequently, the drug has been studied in a small clinical trial at the UCL Institute of Neurology (ION) with striking results. This is the first time a drug has been shown to prevent the progressive deterioration that occurs in PD. We hope that these exciting findings will now be followed by a more substantial clinical trial with UCL SOP and ION working in collaboration.

This story was recently highlighted on the ITV News. A link to this programme can be found here: http://www.itv.com/news/story/2013-05-20/parkinsons-disease-diabetes-drug/#parkinsons-disease-patients-responded-to-diabetes-drug_205777

Page last modified on 11 jul 13 15:48