Retirement Life

Shannen Findlay

New trials give hope for Parkinson's disease treatment

New trials give hope for Parkinson's disease treatment

There has been a breakthrough in treatments for Parkinson’s disease and could spell a potential saving grace after a successful drug trial in Australia. 

The new tests found those with the debilitating disorder improved patients symptoms and aided in stopping the progression of the degenerative disease. 

The drug is giving new hope to those battling Parkinson’s and was developed in Victoria at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. 

Doctor Andrew Evans told The New Daily the new trial showed a lot of promise for the future of broader treatments. 

“It shows quite a lot of hope,” he said.

The phase one trials began 15 years ago and the drug was administered to18 Australian Parkinson’s disease patients in three volumes: Small, medium and large. 

The results surprised Dr Evans who expected to see little results however improvements were shown in the patient’s symptoms in addition to them getting “better.”

“This was more marked in higher-dose groups, who were given 72 milligrams of the drug a day,” he said.

“I was playing it down to patients at the start, saying, ‘This probably won’t make you feel better’. But people were coming back saying, ‘I feel better on this drug’.”

In Parkinson’s disease, some neurons in the brain are dead, some are ill and others remain functioning relatively well.

The improvements and positive findings were a result of the drug activating neurons in the brain. 

“What the drug has done is bring back those sick neurons into functioning well,” Evans said.

While phase two tests are still underway, researchers are looking to develop more trials focussing on longer periods of time and larger groups of patients.

“The challenge in Parkinson’s is that it is a very slowly progressing disease,” Dr Evans said.

“… if you’re just slowing the progress of the disease, you do need to study people for longer.

“But if this drug holds up … maybe we can get (results) in a shorter amount of time.”