Researchers test whether diabetes drug can help Parkinson’s patients
14 July 2014
A trial to test whether a diabetes drug may help slow down Parkinson's disease is under way at the newly opened Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) Clinical Facility at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN).
The first patient has been dosed with
Exenatide, a licensed drug used since 2005 to treat patients with Type 2
diabetes, and which appears to have neuro-protective properties.
Foltynie, a consultant neurologist at the NHNN and Senior Lecturer at UCL Institute of Neurology, is the Chief Investigator of
this clinical trial (funded by the Michael J Fox Foundation) in which patients affected
by Parkinson's disease will inject themselves with Exenatide over a 12-month
Patients will undergo clinical assessments, brain imaging and a collection of biological samples to gain insight into the safety and tolerability of the drug.
The benefits of Exenatide first came to light
several years ago, when an initial study showed that the drug was able to
rescue dying nerve cells. This trial follows on from encouraging results in a
smaller study conducted at the UCL Institute of Neurology in 2013 in which 20
participants were exposed to Exenatide and 24 participants with the standard
treatment (the control group) over 12 months.
Results showed that patients on
Exenatide appeared essentially unchanged throughout and beyond the trial
period, while the control group had an expected rate of gradual decline in
movement and cognitive ability. Although the results of the study in 2013
provided strong encouragement for Exenatide as a potential disease-modifying
agent in Parkinson’s disease, a larger trial was essential. The current trial
aims to recruit 60 patients.
Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre (LWENC) Clinical Facility has been
specifically designed to undertake experimental medicine studies and early
phase clinical trials (including first-in-man studies) aiming at identifying
potential disease modifying therapies in the field of neurology and neurodegeneration.
24 hours a day through the partnership between the UCL Institute of Neurology
and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN).
Aviles-Olmos, I et al. 2013. Exenatide and the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease Journal of Clinical Investigation. 123(6):2730–2736. doi:10.1172/JCI68295
Contact details for queries:
Dr Thomas Foltynie
Consultant neurologist at the NHNN and Senior Lecturer at UCL Institute of Neurology
Dr Rajeshree Khengar
Clinical Projects Lead/Senior Operational Manager
Dr Vincenzo Libri
Head of Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre