Researchers at UCLH finding out if a diabetes drug can help Parkinson’s patients 

08/07/2014 00:00 
A trial to test whether a diabetes drug may help slow down Parkinson's disease is under way at the Leonard Wolfson Experimental Neurology Centre at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

The first patient has been dosed with Exenatide, a licensed drug used since 2005 to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes, and which appears to have neuro-protective properties.

NHNN consultant neurologist Thomas Foltynie is leading the trial during which Parkinson's disease patients will inject themselves with Exenatide over a 12-month period. Patients will undergo clinical assessments together with brain imaging and a collection of biological samples to then gain insight into the safety and tolerability of the drug.

The benefits of Exenatide first came to light several years ago, when an initial study showed that the drug was able to rescue dying nerve cells. This trial follows on from encouraging results in a smaller study at the UCL Institute of Neurology in 2013.

In the earlier trial, 20 participants were exposed to Exenatide and 24 with the standard treatment (the control group) over 12 months. Results showed that patients on Exenatide appeared essentially unchanged throughout and beyond the trial period, while the control group had an expected rate of gradual decline in movement and cognitive ability.

Although the 2013 study’s results provided strong encouragement for Exenatide as a potential disease-modifying agent in Parkinson’s disease, a larger trial was essential. This trial aims to recruit 60 patients.

You can find out more about research at our Research Open Day organised by UCLH on 10 July between 3 and 6pm. Everyone is invited to come and find out how clinical research is changing patient care.

Visitors to University College Hospital will be able to meet leading researchers and find out the latest research in conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia. There will be opportunities to take mini cognitive assessment tests, step into a body composition analyser and find out top tips for oral health.

This is a free event and registration is not required. Just drop in between 3 and 6pm. All the activities are in the main atrium and corridors of University College Hospital 235 Euston Road, London NW1 2BU.

For any queries contact Kavita Mehta

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