Can Parkinson’s Disease be slowed by a diabetes drug? A new study in the Journal Lancet says… Maybe.
First, some background. Here’s what researchers Poewe and Seppi have to say about the new research being funded in-part by the The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The abstract (in the Journal Lancet) is titled, Insulin signaling: New target for Parkinson’s treatments?
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and affects 2–3% of people aged 65 years and older. The number of affected people is expected to double between 2005 and 2030 as the world’s population ages, which will further increase the societal and economic burdens of the disease. Although in the past 20 years understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying neuronal dysfunction and cell death in Parkinson’s disease has improved substantially and novel therapeutic targets have been identified, no treatments with proven disease-modifying efficacy have become available. – Poewe and Seppi, The Lancet, 8/3/17
Progression Of Parkinson’s Disease Slowed By Diabetes Drug
Thomas Foltynie, professor of neurology at University College in London (and colleagues) report that Exenatide, (a type 2 diabetes drug that goes by the brand names of “Bydureon” and “Byetta”) could help slow the progression of Parkinson’s in adults. The benefits of Exenatide were even see after study participants stopped taking the medication (for up to 12 weeks).
60 participants in the study were randomly assigned to either the Exenatide group or a placebo group. Each of these groups then injected themselves over the course of 60 weeks, and were assessed at each 12 week mark. Those study participants in the Exenatide group showed improvement in movement-scores (tremors, etc.) and those on placebo showed (expected) worsening of symptoms.
University College of London reports this exciting news, but the study’s first author, Dr Dilan Athauda notes: “While we are optimistic about the results of our trial, there is more investigation to be done, and it will be a number of years before a new treatment could be approved and ready for use. We also hope to learn why exenatide appears to work better for some patients than for others”