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In September, a small biotech company called CuraSen announced that they had dosed the first participant in a clinical trial of their new experimental drug for Parkinson’s.
This news did not garner a lot of attention, but was of great interest to us here at the SoPD because the drug – currently named CST-2032 – is the first of a novel class of drug to be tested in Parkinson’s.
It also represents a shift in our approach to disease modification in neurodegenerative conditions (like Parkinson’s) as the focus moves away from solely being on the dopamine neurons.
In today’s post, we will look at what CST-2032 is, what evidence exists that supports this drug going into clinical trial, and why it might represent a turning point in how we approach the treatment of Parkinson’s.
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The first thing you notice when you go to the CuraSen website are the words “Think, again“.
A curious introduction to a biotech, but it grabs the attention.
Next – and I don’t want to ruin things for anyone (Spoiler alert!) – the words fade away…
… only to be replaced by: “Rethinking neurodegeneration”
At that point (if you are a curious creature) you start thinking: Ooh, this looks interesting.
And with a little bit of digging, you realise that it is interesting.
Why is Curasen interesting?
Curasen is a California-based biotech taking a slightly different approach towards neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s.
What are they doing?
Continue reading “Curasen: Shifting the focus from just dopamine”
In 2017, a research report suggested that people taking the asthma treatment Salbutamol had a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s. In addition, that same study suggested that another medication called Propranolol – which is used for hypertension/high blood pressure – increased ones risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Both drugs work via a molecule called the Beta2 adrenoreceptor. The study caused a lot of excitement, and clinical studies were even proposed.
Now, however, new research suggests that these associations may not actually exist and those clinical trial plans will be need to be put on standby.
In today’s post we will discuss what the Beta2 adrenoreceptor is, how these two drugs (Salbutamol and Propranolol) affect it, and look at what the new results suggest.
Saul Goodman. Source: Amc
There is a popular show on Netflix called ‘Better call Saul’ (the title of this post is a play on the name).
It chronicles the life of a lawyer – named Saul Goodman – who struggles to make his way in the grey world of the law profession. He fights to survive by taking the information he has, and using it to plead his cases. But sometimes the original pieces of information he is dealing with are not always what they appear to be.
A similar situation faces researchers the world over.
Every day new information is reported. And this process is unrelenting. It simply never stops.
For Parkinson’s research alone, every day there is about 20 new research reports (approximately 120 per week).
But determining what is ‘usable’ information relies on independent replication. And sometimes efforts to validate a new finding fail to reproduce the initially reported results.
An example of this has occurred recently in the world of Parkinson’s research, with some rather large implications.
Continue reading “Better call Sal(-butamol)?”
“Repurposing” in medicine refers to taking drugs that are already approved for the treatment of one condition and testing them to see if they are safe and effective in treating other diseases. Given that these clinically available drugs have already been shown to be safe in humans, repurposing represents a method of rapidly acquiring new potential therapeutics for a particular condition.
The antidepressant, Trazodone, has recently been proposed for repurposing to neurodegenerative conditions, such as Parkinson’s.
In today’s post we will look at what Trazodone is, why it is being considered for repurposing, and we will review the results of a new primate study that suggests it may not be ideal for the task.
Opinions. Everyone has them. Source: Creativereview
I am regularly asked by readers to give an opinion on specific drugs and supplements.
And I usually cut and paste in my standard response: I can not answer these sorts of questions as I am just a research scientist not a clinician; and even if I was a clinician, it would be unethical for me to comment as I have no idea of your medical history.
In many of these cases, there simply isn’t much proof that the drug/supplement has any effect in Parkinson’s, so it is hard to provide any kind of “opinion”. But even if there was proof, I don’t like to give opinions.
Eleven out of every ten opinions are usually wrong (except in the head of the beholder) so why would my opinion be any better? And each individual is so different, why would one particular drug/supplement work the same for everyone?
In offering an answer to “my opinion” questions, I prefer to stick to the “Just the facts, ma’am” approach and I focus solely on the research evidence that we have available (Useless pub quiz fact: this catchphrase “Just the facts, ma’am” is often credited to Detective Joe Friday from the TV series Dragnet, and yet he never actually said it during any episode! – Source).
Detective Joe Friday. Source: Wikipedia
Now, having said all of that, there is one drug in particularly that is a regular topic of inquiry (literally, not a week goes by without someone asking about): an antidepressant called Trazodone.
What is Trazodone?
Continue reading “Trazodo or Trazodon’t?”