Curasen: Shifting the focus from just dopamine

# # # #

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.

# # # #


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.

Very 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”

Distinctly human?

 

It is often said that Parkinson’s is a ‘distinctly human’ condition. Researchers will write in their reports that other animals do not naturally develop the features of the condition, even at late stages of life.

But how true is this statement?

Recently, some research has been published which brings into question this idea.

In today’s post, we will review these new findings and discuss how they may provide us with a means of testing both novel disease modifying therapies AND our very notion of what Parkinson’s means.

 


Checking his Tinder account? Source: LSE

Deep philosphical question: What makes humans unique?

Seriously, what differentiates us from other members of the animal kingdom?

Some researchers suggest that our tendency to wear clothes is a uniquely human trait.

The clothes we wear make us distinct. Source: Si-ta

But this is certainly not specific to us. While humans dress up to ‘stand out’ in a crowd, there are many species of animals that dress up to hide themselves from both predator and prey.

A good example of this is the ‘decorator crab’ (Naxia tumida; common name Little seaweed crab). These creatures spend a great deal of time dressing up, by sticking stuff (think plants and even some sedentary animals) to their exoskeleton in order to better blend into their environment. Here is a good example:

Many different kinds of insects also dress themselves up, such as Chrysopidae larva:

Dressed for success. Source: Bogleech

In fact, for most of the examples that people propose for “human unique” traits (for example, syntax, art, empathy), mother nature provides many counters (Humpback whales, bower birds, chickens – respectively).

So why is it that we think Parkinson’s is any different?

Wait a minute. Are there other animals that get Parkinson’s?

Continue reading “Distinctly human?”