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Cure Parkinson’s is a medical research charity that is focused on disease modification for Parkinson’s. Our only goal is to slow, stop or reverse the condition. To achieve this aim, we fund and support preclinical projects (that are with 5 years of clinical testing) and clinical trials focused on testing new disease modifying therapies.

Twice a year we hold public events, where we share how the research we support is developing and progressing. It is an in-person event held in London, and we stream it live to the virtual audience who are unable to attend.

In today’s post, we will review the highlights of Cure Parkinson’s 2023 Autumn Research Update meeting.

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As long time readers will be aware, the freakishly tall, ridiculously good looking author of this blog is an employee of the medical research charity, Cure Parkinson’s.

He tries to be transparent about this and where Cure Parkinson’s is involved in the research being discussed on the SoPD website, he always indicates their involvement. He doesn’t want to be seen to be biasing the content here on the SoPD towards the charity’s activities, rather he prefers to take a broader view of all the interesting research that is going on in the Parkinson’s research world.

But, when there is Cure Parkinson’s related material that he thinks might be of interest to the wider Parkinson’s community, he is comfortable with highlighting it.

And today’s post is an example of this.

Recently, Cure Parkinson’s held their 2023 Autumn Research Update meeting at the Royal Society of Medicine in London:

The RSM. Source: RSM

The event was held on the afternoon of Tuesday 1st November, and in addition to the 150 in-person attendees, there were also many more watching the live feed online.

The atrium outside the lecture hall. Source: RSM

The event started with Prof Oliver Bandmann presenting the background research and the final results of the UDCA in Parkinson’s (or “UP study”) clinical trial.

Prof Oliver Bandmann. Source: Sheffield

Cure Parkinson’s was a funder of the UP study and we have previously reviewed the results here on the SoPD (Click here to read more about that).

Here is a video of Prof Bandmann giving his lecture:

For those readers who are interested in learning more about the UP study, the full results of the study can be found in this report:

Title: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA) in Parkinson’s Disease.
Authors: Payne T, Appleby M, Buckley E, van Gelder LMA, Mullish BH, Sassani M, Dunning MJ, Hernandez D, Scholz SW, McNeill A, Libri V, Moll S, Marchesi JR, Taylor R, Su L, Mazzà C, Jenkins TM, Foltynie T, Bandmann O.
Journal: Mov Disord. 2023 May 29. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 37246815                (This report is OPEN ACCESS if you would like to read it)

After Professor Bandmann’s presentation, Miss Georgia Mills, Research Project Manager of the EJS ACT-PD project was introduced as the next speaker. The Edmond J. Safra Accelerating Clinical Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease (EJS-ACT PD) initiative is a project that is focused on setting up a multi-arm, multi-stage (MAMS) clinical trial platform here in the UK. This will be a nationwide ‘conveyor belt’ for the testing of new therapies with disease modifying potential for Parkinson’s.

MAMS platforms involve multiple agents being tested at the same time within a single trial. Each therapy is tested in one group (or arm) of participants and compared to a single placebo arm of the study. In this fashion, the MAMS design provides a quicker and ultimately cheaper option for testing new therapies than the conventional individual trial approach.

But critically it involves interim analyses in order to determine which drugs are working. Rather than waiting till the end of the study to find out whether a therapy actually work, the investigators have the data being constantly assessed by an independent monitoring group which can tell them if an agent is demonstrating any signs of efficacy. In the image below, treatment D1 shows efficacy, while the others (D2-7) do not and are removed from the study during the first three years:

Source: iospress

These regular assessments of the data as the trial is being conducted are needed so that decisions can be made about which therapies should be carried forward into Phase 3, and which should be stopped and replaced with a different therapy to be tested.

Georgia explained all of this in her presentation and provided the audience with an update on how the development of the ACT-PD MAMS platform in the UK is progressing:

After Georgia’s presentation, there was a coffee break for the in-person attendees at the meeting.

During the pause in the activities, Cure Parkinson’s had invited some early career researchers who were being funded by the charity to come and present posters of their projects in the atrium of the Royal Society of Medicine. Those young scientists were attending the meeting in person, but to keep the virtual attendees engaged during the 30 minutes of coffee break, the research team at Cure Parkinson’s provided pre-recorded videos of two of these researchers presenting their posters.

The first of these short poster presentations was given by Dr Rachel Hughes of Sheffield University who is exploring the possibility of repurposing two gout medications for Parkinson’s:

The second early career researcher who presented a poster at the Autumn Research Update meeting was Miss Emma Davies, who is the UK Parkinson’s Clinical Studies Group Coordinator. She provided an overview and discusses plans for the initiative:

After the coffee break, Dr Simon Stott, Director of Research at Cure Parkinson’s spoke about the recent research that Cure Parkinson’s has funded and supported, highlighting some of the major findings of the last year, and mentioning what to look out for in the coming 12 months. His talk was followed by a Q&A session with all of the presenters which is also available on this video:

After this final session, there were drinks in the atrium outside the lecture hall.

The next Cure Parkinson’s research update meeting will be their Spring 2024 edition, which will be held on Wednesday 17th April 2024 at the Royal Society of Medicine (Wimpole Street, London). The theme of that meeting will be “12 years of iLCT” and there will be two key-note presentations.

The first will be given by Professor Olivier Rascol (of Toulouse University Hospital, France), who will be presenting the results of the Phase 2 “Lixipark study”, which tested the GLP-1 receptor agonist Lixisenatide (or placebo) in 152 people with Parkinson’s. Lixisenatide is a drug that is used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and belongs to the same class of drug as exenatide (we have previously discussed both of these drugs on this website – click here to read more about this).

Professor Olivier Rascol. Source: Youtube

The second speaker will be Professor Per Svenningsson (of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden) who will present the background data and outline the structure of the upcoming Phase 2 clinical trial of the anti-inflammatory drug Montelukast in Parkinson’s (Click here to learn more about the Spring research update event).

Professor Per Svenningsson. Source: Wallenberg

In addition to these two speakers, there will also be further updates of Cure Parkinson’s funded/supported research being shared at the meeting. If you are interested in attending the meeting (either in person or virtually), please have a look at the Cure Parkinson’s website for more information (Click here to see that page).


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EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of this post is an employee of Cure Parkinson’s, so he might be a little bit biased in his views on research and clinical trials supported by the trust. That said, the trust has not requested the production of this post, and the author is sharing it simply because it may be of interest to the Parkinson’s community.

The information provided by the SoPD website is for information and educational purposes only. Under no circumstances should it ever be considered medical or actionable advice. It is provided by research scientists, not medical practitioners. Any actions taken – based on what has been read on the website – are the sole responsibility of the reader. Any actions being contemplated by readers should firstly be discussed with a qualified healthcare professional who is aware of your medical history. While some of the information discussed in this post may cause concern, please speak with your medical physician before attempting any change in an existing treatment regime.

In addition, many of the companies mentioned in this post are publicly traded companies. That said, the material presented on this page should under no circumstances be considered financial advice. Any actions taken by the reader based on reading this material is the sole responsibility of the reader. None of the companies have requested that this material be produced, nor has the author had any contact with any of the companies or associated parties. This post has been produced for educational purposes only.

The banner for today’s post was supplied by the author.

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