Simvastatin is a drug used to lower cholesterol in patients with very high cholesterol condition, but the drug is now being trialed as a potential cure for Parkinson’s patients.
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The clinical trial is being carried by the Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry together with other collaborators, and it is aimed at 198 Parkinson’s patients. Researchers for the trial intend to recruit only Parkinson’s patients who do not take any statins at the moment, and tests will be conducted across 21 centers across the UK and in Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust.
Plymouth University, JP Moulton Trust, and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust are funding the trial; and Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit at Plymouth University as well as the NIHR Clinical Research Network for the South West Peninsula is running the trials.
The scheduled clinical trial will be run as part of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Linked Clinical Trials Programme. This program entails Parkinson’s experts from around the globe investigating what compounds indicate the greater promise to cure, slow, stop, or reverse Parkinson’s. Having previously proven safe for human treatment in other conditions, the approved compounds are then marked for inclusion in clinical trials.
The program has been used to trial diabetes treatment, mitochondrial dysfunction, as well as other diseases, and is now being trialed for Parkinson’s disease across the US and Europe.
"It is encouraging to see new compounds that are already approved as being safe for use in man being trialled for use in Parkinson's,” said Dr. Camille Carroll, the trial's chief investigator. “There have been few innovations in the treatment of Parkinson's for over 40 years and for the more than 127,000 people living with the condition in the UK, the results of this trials program could lead to new and highly effective treatments in the armoury of medications to tackle Parkinson's."
Tom Isaacs, co-founder of The Parkinson’s Trust and a 20-year patient of Parkinson’s added that the organization continues to find new treatments that could either slow, stop, or reverse Parkinson’s; and that the organization is committed to finding a quality treatment for the condition within 5 years.
“The results of a recent trial in multiple sclerosis with simvastatin, and the pre-clinical work investigating its effect on alpha-synuclein clumping (which is a common feature of Parkinson's) indicate that it could be an effective treatment to slow down the progression of Parkinson's," Isaacs said.
And Jon Moulton of the JP Moulton Trust revealed that the trust is glad to fund the highly successful trial in Multiple Sclerosis and glad to be one of the funders of the trial for Parkinson’s – hoping for a treatment for the condition.
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Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement and speech. Why some people develop the condition is unknown, and there is no cure for it at the moment. About 127,000 individuals in the UK are estimated to have it, and between 10-20 million patients of the condition are estimated to be worldwide. Several of the people living with it are undiagnosed and remain untreated.