Inhibikase Therapeutics has designed a novel drug that is similar to the drug nilotinib – previously tested in people with Parkinson’s – but is better at reaching its target in the brain.

In a recent news update the biotech company Inhibikase Therapeutics has announced the first person with Parkinson’s has been treated in a clinical trial of their experimental drug ‘IkT-148009’. The therapy is designed to inhibit a protein called Abelson tyrosine kinase, or c-Abl, that is believed to be overly active in Parkinson’s.

C-Abl prevents cells from clearing waste compounds and therefore, when c-Abl is inactivated, normal cell function begins.

The History:

In 2016, a drug already in use to treat cancer was reported to have encouraging results in a small clinical study for Parkinson’s. The drug tested in that study was nilotinib, and its function is to inhibit c-Abl. C-Abl has been shown to be very active in some people with Parkinson’s, and the nilotinib treatment resulted in improvements in models of Parkinson’s. This led to two large phase 2 clinical trials of nilotinib in Parkinson’s – one trial was supported by Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute.

Inhibikase Therapeutics has designed their c-Abl inhibitor IkT-148009, which is similar to nilotinib, but it is better at accessing the brain. The phase I clinical trial evaluating the safety and tolerability of the drug in healthy volunteers was successful; now the phase 1b study testing the drug in people with Parkinson’s will, it is hoped, determine the potential efficacy of IkT-148009 in slowing or possibly stopping disease progression in Parkinson’s.

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