Exenatide is a type 2 diabetes treatment that has been shown to have neuroprotective/neurorestorative properties in preclinical models of neurodegeneration. A new study by Aviles-Olmos et al published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation reports on the results of a trial to evaluate the progress of 45 patients with moderate Parkinson’s disease (PD). Single-blinded rating of the exenatide group suggested clinically relevant improvements in PD across motor and cognitive measures compared with the control group.
In a commentary on the paper, Roger Barker, Mark Stacy and Patrik Brundin say:
Translating new findings in the laboratory into therapies for patients is a slow and expensive process. The development of therapies for neurodegenerative diseases is further complicated by the difficulty in determining whether the drug truly retards the slow degenerative process or provides only symptomatic benefit. In this issue, Aviles-Olmos et al. describe a first in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patient study using a drug previously approved for diabetes treatment. In addition to suggesting that the drug may indeed be disease modifying in PD, their innovative approach suggests there may be more rapid and inexpensive avenues for testing novel therapies in PD.
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