Promising news for patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) was reported at the 13th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases in Vienna earlier this month. PRX002/RG7935, currently in Phase 1b clinical trials, has been identified as having an acceptable safety profile and is expected to go into phase 2 clinical trials in the next few months.
PRX002/RG7935 is a monoclonal antibody that targets alpha-synuclein. It plays a role in slowing the progression of PD by reducing the accumulation of alpha-synuclein while reducing the speed at which it spreads from cell to cell. The build-up of alpha-synuclein in the nervous system is a key player in the pathogenesis of PD.
PD is a devastating illness in which there are four main symptoms: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia (slow movement) and postural instability. It affects 1 in 100 people over the age of 60. Risk factors for PD include old age, being male and family history. Diagnosis of PD has to be made based on the clinical criteria as there is currently no definitive test.
Discovery of therapies for PD has been relatively slow compared to therapies for other disorders. Currently, therapies work by masking PD symptoms but they do not stop or reverse the effects of PD. Many current therapies also have distressing side effects, such as hallucinations.
Raising awareness of the difficulties of living with PD is important, especially as three quarters of people in the UK admit to knowing little or no information about the disease. This lack of understanding can cause patients to become upset as, for example, their speech problems can be mistaken for drunkenness or they can be misunderstood for not smiling at certain events.
It is important for the public to understand more about PD so that more can be done to help those patients – whether it be through donations made to research or support groups, or just being able to recognise that someone has PD and act around them accordingly rather than feeling uncomfortable. #UniteForParkinsons today and help to raise awareness of this chronic condition.
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