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One of the most common questions I get from SoPD readers is what’s new with inflammasome research? Another version of this question is where are the clinical trials for NLRP3 inhibitors in Parkinson’s?
Readers have become very enchanted by this new class of anti-inflammatory drugs as a potential future treatment for Parkinson’s – and there is preclinical evidence to support this vibe. But the clinical development of these experimental therapies has been slow.
Recently, the pharmaceutical company Roche has initiated Phase 1b testing of their NLRP3 inhibitor (called Selnoflast) in people with Parkinson’s – the first in this class.
In today’s post, we will discuss what the inflammasome is, how NLRP3 inhibitors work, and what the new clinical trial involves.
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On the 21st September 2020, the website for an Ireland-based biotech company called Inflazome suddenly disappeared. In its place was a single page, that stated the large pharmaceutical company Roche had purchased the biotech firm and taken on all of its inflammasome-targeting intellectual property (Source).
This was a big deal for folks who were watching the inflammasome research world. It suggested that the big players (pharma) were now interested in this space ($449 million interested in the case of Inflazome). And since then, there has been a rush of other pharma companies buying or developing inflammasome-targeting agents.
The Inflazome purchase was also interesting because the company was targeting Parkinson’s as one of their indications of interest.
And it would appear that Roche is now following up on this interest, having initiated a clinical trial program focused on inflammasomes in Parkinson’s.
Hang on a second. Remind me, what are inflammasomes?