New Parkinson's Trial
10 July 2023
A pioneering new drug designed to treat dyskinesia - the challenging involuntary movements that are a side effect of widely-used Parkinson’s medication - could also improve motor symptoms of the condition, offering hope that a new multi-faceted treatment could be within reach.
Updated trial results showed that NLX-112 could treat several symptoms and, if further trials are successful, there could be a valuable new Parkinson’s drug by 2030. The findings developed by the biopharma company Neurolixis have shown promising results and were revealed exclusively at the World Parkinson Congress in Barcelona.
The trial, co-funded by Parkinson's UK and the Michael J Fox Foundation, aimed to develop a drug which treats dyskinesia, but further analysis also found positive effects on other motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as slowness, stiffness and tremor.
Motor symptoms can have a massive impact on people with Parkinson’s, and the people who love and care for them. They can make daily tasks like tying your shoes or buttering bread difficult and frustrating, so a potential treatment for these symptoms could change the lives of many living with the condition.
Common Parkinson’s drug treatments such as levodopa work by converting into dopamine in the brain, a chemical messenger that people with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of. Although these treatments are effective in the early stages of Parkinson’s, after five years around half of people taking levodopa develop dyskinesia as a result. After ten years, this rises to up to 80%.
Instead, NLX-112 targets brain cells that carry serotonin, which is known to play an important role in controlling our movements. Positive results were seen with a relatively low dose and improved as the dose went up. This suggests the full benefit of the drug may be even better than seen in this phase of the trial. This groundbreaking approach could also inform other research and provide a new way to treat motor symptoms.
This is an early-stage trial, and its main aim was to prove the safety and effectiveness of the drug so that it can be tested on a larger scale. The next stage of the trial will aim to find out the best and safest doses and will be done with more participants. Then, a third study phase will take place which will be an even larger-scale study to confirm the safety and effectiveness of the drug.
If each of these phases is successful, the drug could be approved and available by 2030.