Most medications and therapies available today to treat Parkinson’s disease – an ailment affecting approximately 10 million people worldwide – do more to reduce or relieve symptoms than to prevent the actual illness progression. There is a new therapy, however, that is specifically designed to stop Parkinson’s “in its tracks” and will begin its first phase of clinical trials on humans during the coming year! Here’s what you should know! (1)
World-First Pill Designed To Stop Parkinson’s Disease!
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease currently known. This therapy to treat Parkinson’s has been developed by University of Queensland researchers, partially underwritten by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and it is considered world first due to its supposed ability to stop the death of brain cells in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s, rather than simply managing their troubling symptoms and ailments. (1, 2)
According to Trent Woodruff, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Queensland, the research group was quickly successful at discovering “a key underlying driver for the disease” that served as a therapy breakthrough. This key, small molecule, MCC950, is a compound that was previously developed, but then also abandoned over a decade ago by a massive pharmaceutical company that didn’t fully understand how the compound worked. Parkinson’s was misunderstood when the compound was first discovered, leading to many research mistakes. The University of Queensland’s research discovery, however, helped researchers identify possible solutions to the mysterious disease. (1, 2)
According to the researchers, if the human trials to come echo the stunning results found in any of the animal tests, then the inflammation of the brain that most commonly causes the greatest amount of progressive damage in cases of Parkinson’s disease could be completely calmed. This could be possible if a patient simply takes a single pill every day. (1, 2)
How Does This Pill Work Against Parkinson’s?
According to Dr. Woodruff, Parkinson’s disease is specifically characterized by the loss of the brain cells that normally work to produce dopamine, a chemical aiding your body by coordinating motor control. Therefore, the loss of dopamine has been a clear focus of the entire treatment, as has the issue of chronic inflammation that occurs when an individual’s immune system response malfunctions, resulting in a great deal of inflammation and brain damage. But during their investigations, Woodruff and his team of researchers discovered five years ago that the immune system causes the NLRP3 inflammasome to light up in patients suffering from Parkinson’s. Not only that, but signals can be found in the brain and even the blood! (1, 2)
It was after this miraculous discovery that Woodruff and his team realized that when the tiny molecule MCC950 is given orally, once per day, it “blocked NLRP3 activation in the brain and prevented the loss of brain cells, resulting in markedly improved motor function.” The progression of MCC950 has since escalated fairly quickly, leading many to believe its journey to the market will happen just as fast. Both Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Inflazome, an Ireland-based company, is eager for the human trials of this compound to begin as soon as possible, and they have been scheduled for the new year. (1, 2)
According to Woodruff, the hardest part of this research has already been completed, apart from funding, and that is that MCC950 came off a patent. Since much of the preclinical work has already been completed, this means researchers have been allowed to develop variations of the drug for many different intellectual property reasons. These newest versions of the drug are under testing currently and proving to be even more effective, per Dr. Woodruff. (1, 2)
Parkinson’s disease is a serious neurodegenerative disease that has been under investigation and research for years. The phase-one testings of this saving pill scheduled for next year will help determine if the drug is safe to use on healthy people. After this, if all goes well, volunteers with Parkinson’s will be recruited for phase-two testing in the year 2020. Woodruff and his researchers are optimistic, but only time and testing will truly tell the safety and effectiveness of this drug. (1)