Cough syrup drug being trialled as Parkinson’s treatment
Ambroxol, a medication originally designed to clear phlegm and ease coughing for people with respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, is being tested to see if it can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease by keeping cells healthier for longer. A research team led by Professor Tony Schapira (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology) reported in January that ambroxol was safe and well-tolerated in 17 study participants with Parkinson’s disease.
According to the findings published in JAMA Neurology, the drug also effectively crossed the blood-brain barrier and increased levels of the glucocerebrosidase (GCase) protein in the participants’ brain cells. This protein allows cells to remove waste more effectively, a function which evidence suggests is deficient in some people with Parkinson’s. Increasing levels of the protein may have the potential to keep cells healthier for longer and, therefore, slow Parkinson’s progression.
This month week, The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT), the Van Andel Institute (VAI) and the John Black Charitable Foundation announced £522,126 of funding for the next stage of the research, which will seek to determine the optimal dosage of ambroxol. The trial will be run this year at the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre at UCL and led by Professor Schapira, with the aim of leading to a larger clinical trial later on.
The announcement comes as part of a USD $4.5 million co-funding agreement with the Van Andel Institute (VAI) to support the International Linked Clinical Trials (iLCT) initiative. iLCT is a thriving global programme that aims to develop new, potentially disease-modifying Parkinson’s therapies, many of which are repurposed medications originally designed or approved to treat other diseases.
Candidate drugs are evaluated and prioritised annually by a committee of world-leading Parkinson’s experts, who select which drugs should enter clinical trials in people with the condition. These drugs have the potential to get to the clinic much faster as they have already passed crucial safety tests.
(Content and Image Courtesy: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/feb/cough-syrup-drug-being-trialled-parkinsons-treatment)