Alzheimer's and Parkinson'sIs it possible that there is one single medication that has already been developed that can be a treatment for not only leukemia, but Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as well? At Georgetown University Medical Center, researchers are hopeful that nilotinib is that medication. Currently approved for use in individuals with one type of leukemia, a small trial is creating great excitement in its encouraging results to rid the brain of toxic proteins.

Georgetown’s medical director of the translational neurotherapeutics program, Fernando Pagan, explains it this way: “Our drug goes into the cells to turn on that garbage disposal mechanism. And if we’re able to degrade these proteins, we could potentially stop the progression of this disorder.”

Because of the exciting results with the small trial, a new trial is being launched. This trial will be more in-depth and will involve 75 Parkinson’s patients and 42 Alzheimer’s patients. Hopefully these results will be equally as exciting, but regardless, the many years of research that have gone into evaluating nilotinib, as well as other new potential developments, are helping pave the way towards practical treatment methods, or perhaps an eventual cure.

Trials in mice have produced some amazing results, actually curing Parkinson’s disease in mice. It’s also proven effective in a small number of human tests in those with Parkinson’s and dementia, for which there currently is not a treatment designed to stop or even slow the continuing development of the diseases. For those in the initial testing phase, improvements in a variety of areas were noted: speech and mobility, most notably.

The next part of the study is expected to be completed in about a year, and patients with either Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s are currently being enrolled for the study. More information in regards to the upcoming Alzheimer’s study is available here, and information about the Parkinson’s study is available here.

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