Tagged: udca

The 2019 Linked Clinical Trials meeting

 

Things were a bit quiet on the SoPD over the summer, but for good reasons. There was a short hiatus for a family break, but the rest of the time I was rather occupied with the day job. Tremendous efforts were being made at the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, as we were gearing up for our main event of the year: the Linked Clinical Trials (LCT) meeting.

This is an annual meeting at which 20 Parkinson’s experts from around the world, gather for a two day face-to-face pow-wow. They evaluate dossiers which contain everything we know about 20+ compounds which have exhibited potential for disease modification in Parkinson’s. The goal of the committee is to decide which of them is ready for clinical evaluation.

The writing of those LCT dossiers is a year long exercise, which inevitably becomes a bit of a panic in June and July (hence the lack of activity here at SoPD HQ during that period). It is a mammoth, marathon task, but as you shall see it is one that I rather like.

In today’s post, we will discuss what the Linked Clinical Trials initiative is, the process behind the project, and some of the progress being made by the programme.

 


Archimedes. Source: Lecturesbureau

Archimedes of Syracuse (287 BC – 212 BC) the ancient Greek mathematician, once said that the “shortest distance between two points is a straight line“.

My dad (who is not a regular readers of this blog, but is possibly on par with Archie – just in case he does ever read this) has often been heard saying “Just get to the point Simon“.

Source: Actioncoach

Millennia apart, but their collective wisdom is same: Ignore everything else, and get straight to the heart of the matter as quickly as you can.

And this is one of the aspect I really like about the Linked Clinical Trials initiative.

It is all about getting to potentially disease modifying treatments for Parkinson’s to the community as quickly as possible.

What is the Linked Clinical Trials programme?

Continue reading

The UP Study – UDCA in Parkinson’s

 

Today we received word of a new clinical trial for Parkinson’s being initiated here in the UK. This trial – named the UP study – will evaluate the safety and tolerability of a compound called Ursodeoxycholic acid (or UDCA – click here to read the press release).

UDCA is clinically available medication that is used in the treatment of gall stone, but recently there has been a large body of research suggesting that this compound may also have beneficial effects in Parkinson’s.

In today’s post, we will look at what UDCA is, discuss the preclinical research exploring UDCA, and outline the structure of the new clinical trial.

 


Source: Youtube

How often do you consider your gallbladder?

It is one of the less appreciated organs. A pear-shaped, hollow organ located just under your liver and on the right side of your body. Its primary function is to store and concentrate your bile. What is bile you ask? Bile is a yellow-brown digestive enzyme – made and released by the liver – which helps with the digestion of fats in your small intestine (the duodenum).

Source: Mayoclinic

One of the down sides of having a gall bladder: gallstones.

Gallstones are hardened deposits that can form in your gallbladder. About 80% of gallstones are made of cholesterol. The remaining 20% of gallstones are made of calcium salts and bilirubin. Bilirubin is the yellow pigment in bile. When the body produces too much Bilirubin or cholesterol, gallstones can develop.

Gallstones – ouch! Source: Healthline

About 10-20% of the population have gallstones (Source), but the vast majority experience no symptoms and need no treatment.

Interesting intro, but what does any of this have to do with Parkinson’s or a new clinical trial?

One of the treatments for gallstones is called UDCA. And today we found out that this compound is being clinically tested for “repurposing” as a treatment for Parkinson’s.

What is UDCA?

Continue reading

UDCA 2.0 = TUDCA?

Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has been proposed as a drug that could be repurposed for Parkinson’s. As a medication, it is called ‘Ursodiol‘ and it is used to treat gallstones.

But there are absorption issues with UDCA: The passage of UDCA through the wall of the small intestine is slow and incomplete (Source).

There may be a solution, however, called Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA). Think of it as UDCA-2.0. It is more easily absorbed by the gut. And there is also good evidence to suggest that it has the same beneficial neuroprotective properties as UDCA.

In today’s post we will discuss what exactly UDCA and TUDCA are, review the Parkinson’s research for both, and discuss why one of these drugs should be tested in the clinic for PD.


Gallstones – ouch! Source: Healthline

Let me introduce you to your gallbladder:

It is one of the less appreciated organs; a pear-shaped, hollow organ located just under your liver and on the right side of your body. Its primary function is to store and concentrate your bile. Bile is a yellow-brown digestive enzyme – made and released by the liver – which helps with the digestion of fats in your small intestine (the duodenum).

Source: Mayoclinic

Now, let me introduce you to your gallstones:

Gallstones are hardened deposits that can form in your gallbladder. About 80% of gallstones are made of cholesterol. The remaining 20% of gallstones are made of calcium salts and bilirubin. Bilirubin is the yellow pigment in bile. When the body produces too much Bilirubin or cholesterol, gallstones can develop.

About 10-20% of the population have gallstones (Source), but the vast majority experience no symptoms and need no treatment.

Interesting intro, but what does any of this have to do with Parkinson’s?

One of the treatments for gallstones is called UDCA. And this compound is being considered for “repurposing” as a treatment for Parkinson’s.

What is UDCA?

Continue reading

The road ahead: Parkinson’s research in 2018

The great ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be” (the original quote actually came from his father, Walter). 

At the start of each year, it is a useful practise to layout what is planned for the next 12 months. This can help us better anticipate where ‘the puck’ will be, and allow us to prepare for things further ahead.

2017 was an incredible year for Parkinson’s research, and there is a lot already in place to suggest that 2018 is going to be just as good (if not better).

In this post, we will lay out what we can expect over the next 12 months with regards to the Parkinson’s-related clinical trials research of new therapies.


Charlie Munger (left) and Warren Buffett. Source: Youtube

Many readers will be familiar with the name Warren Buffett.

The charming, folksy “Oracle of Omaha” is one of the wealthiest men in the world. And he is well known for his witticisms about investing, business and life in general.

Warren Buffett. Source: Quickmeme

He regularly provides great one liners like:

“We look for three things [in good business leaders]: intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the latter, then you should hope they don’t have the first two either. If someone doesn’t have integrity, then you want them to be dumb and lazy”

“Work for an organisation of people you admire, because it will turn you on. I always worry about people who say, ‘I’m going to do this for ten years; and if I really don’t like it very much, then I’ll do something else….’ That’s a little like saving up sex for your old age. Not a very good idea”

“Choosing your heroes is very important. Associate well, marry up and hope you find someone who doesn’t mind marrying down. It was a huge help to me”

Mr Buffett is wise and a very likeable chap.

Few people, however, are familiar with his business partner, Charlie Munger. And Charlie is my favourite of the pair.

Continue reading

The EMPRSN talk #1

Recently I was invited to speak at the 6th Annual East Midlands Parkinson’s Research Support Network meeting at the Link Hotel, in Loughborough. The group is organised and run by the local Parkinson’s community and supported by Parkinson’s UK. It was a fantastic event and I was very grateful to the organisers for the invitation.

They kindly gave me two sessions (20 minutes each) which I divided into two talks: “Where we are now with Parkinson’s research?” and “Where we are going with Parkinson’s research?”. Since giving the talk, I have been asked by several attendees if I could make the slides available.

The slides from the first talk can be found by clicking here.

I have also made a video of the first talk with a commentary that I added afterwards. But be warned: my delivery of this second version of the talk is a bit dry. Apologies. It has none of my usual dynamic charm or energetic charisma. Who knew that talking into a dictaphone could leave one sounding so flat.

Anyways, here is the talk – enjoy!

I hope you find it interesting. When I have time I’ll post the second talk.