First Parkinson’s drug to slow or reverse disease progression appears ‘promising’

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A new drug is being tested to ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) – and it appears to show promise.

The drug is designed to slow or stop disease progression in patients by targeting toxic proteins that build up in the brain, according to the study published in the journal Nature Medicine on June 20.

Researchers conducted a placebo-controlled phase 1 trial of an investigational immunotherapy drug called UB-312, testing safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity (strength of immune response).

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Trial results showed the drug was generally safe and well-tolerated by patients as a disease-modifying treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers said that to their knowledge, this is the first report showing a positive effect of an experimental therapy of this type.

In a new study, Parkinson’s disease patients reported improvements in their daily movements after receiving UB-312. (iStock)

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, only medications that treat the symptoms.

“UB-312 is designed to change the course of Parkinson’s disease by targeting the underlying cause,” Lou Reese, co-founder of Vaxxinity, the Texas-based pharmaceutical company that worked on the study.

Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, the University of Texas McGovern School of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, also helped conduct the study.

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“In our phase 1 trial, we showed that UB-312 may be able to stop or even reverse the progression of the disease by successfully targeting aggregated alpha-synuclein.”

(Alpha-synuclein is an acidic protein that accumulates in the brains of Parkinson’s patients.)

UB-312 is administered as an injection, typically via multiple doses over several months, Reese noted.

“Time and science will help us determine whether this new approach will be more effective.”

During the trial, Parkinson’s patients reported improvement in their daily movements after receiving the new drug.

The drug was found to be safe and well-tolerated by both healthy people and Parkinson’s patients, with only minimal side effects, including headaches and fatigue, according to Reese.

The drug UB-312 is administered by injection, usually through multiple doses over several months. (iStock)

UB-312 works by targeting alpha-synuclein, the “harmful Parkinson’s disease protein,” and producing antibodies against it, the researcher explained.

During the trial, 12 out of 13 patients developed…

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