Nasal drugs show promise in slowing progression of Parkinson’s disease in lab study

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Newswise – Potential new treatments for Parkinson’s disease developed by researchers at Rush University Medical Center have been successful in slowing disease progression in mice.

In a study published in Nature Communication, Rush researchers found that two different peptides (chains of amino acids) help slow the spread of alpha-synuclein, a protein that occurs in abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies in the brain. Lewy bodies are characteristic of Parkinson’s disease, the most common movement disorder affecting approximately 1.2 million people in the United States and Canada.

“Currently, there are no treatments that slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease – they only treat the symptoms,” says Kalipada Pahan, PhD, Floyd A. Davis Professor of Neurology at Rush University Medical Center and a career scientist at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, who led the study.

Lewy bodies are also associated with the development of Lewy body dementia and a rare neurological disorder called multisystem atrophy (MSA). “Currently, there is also no effective treatment for Lewy body dementia and multisystem atrophy,” Pahan said. “Understanding how these diseases work is important for developing effective drugs that inhibit alpha-synuclein pathology, protect the brain, and stop the progression of Lewy body disease. “

The peptides developed in the lab and tested in the study are known as the TLR2 interaction domain of Myd88 (TIDM) and the NEMO binding domain (NBD). The drugs, which were given through the nose, have been shown to slow inflammation in the brain and stop the spread of alpha-synuclein in mice with Parkinson’s disease. The treatments also improved gait, balance and other motor functions in the mice.

“If these results can be replicated in patients, it would be a remarkable breakthrough in the treatment of devastating neurological disorders,” says Pahan.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The other authors of the article are Debashis Dutta, PhD; Malabendu Jana, PhD; Moumita Majumder, Ph.D.; Susanta Mondel, Ph.D.; and Avik Roy, PhD, all from Rush University Medical Center.


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