Washington DC: A new drug, which shows great promise in treating Parkinson's disease has been fast tracked to clinical trials.
According to University of Sheffield researchers, the drug UDCA which has already been in use for decades to treat liver disease could be an effective treatment to slow down progression of Parkinson's disease.
Dr Heather Mortiboys explained that they demonstrated the beneficial effects of UDCA in the tissue of LRRK2 carriers with the disease as well as currently asymptomatic LRRK2 carriers. In both cases, UDCA improved mitochondrial function as demonstrated by the increase in oxygen consumption and cellular energy levels.
Professor Oliver Bandmann added that mitochondrial defects are also present in other inherited and sporadic forms of Parkinson's, and hence they hope that UDCA might be beneficial for other types of Parkinson's disease and might also show benefits in other neurodegenerative diseases.
A mutation in the LRRK2 gene is the single most common inherited cause of Parkinson's disease. However, the precise mechanism that leads to Parkinson's is still unclear.
Dr Arthur Roach, Director of Research and Development at Parkinson's UK, which part-funded the study, said that there was a tremendous need for new treatments that can slow or stop the disease, and it was due to this urgency, the testing of drugs like UCDA, which are already approved for other uses, was extremely valuable for it could save years, and hundreds of millions of pounds.
The study published in the journal Neurology.