Research funded by Parkinson's UK suggests that the experimental drug for prostate cancer, tasquinimod, may have promising potential for treating Parkinson’s disease.
Scientists at the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre, using stem-cell technology, cultivated brain cells from skin cell samples donated by individuals with a rare genetic form of Parkinson’s and from healthy individuals.
The findings showed that several crucial genes became inactive when problems initially started to occur within the Parkinson’s-inflicted cells. The “switching off” of these genes early in the process resulted in the consequent condition. The team found that tasquinimod was capable of turning the genes back on, which corrected the changes in the Parkinson’s-inflicted brain cells.
According to Professor Wade-Martins, co-author of the study, states that brain cells which have a similar pattern of inactive genes could benefit from the same treatment. Thus, tasquinimod may work for some individuals with Parkinson’s but not for others.
Professor David Dexter, Deputy Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, said: "By finding existing drugs and moving them rapidly into clinical trials, we can make them available for people with Parkinson's much more quickly, easily and cheaply."