Drug Study Holds Exciting Potential for Dementia Treatment

drug trial

A drug, used to treat cancer, has shown promise for slowing or even stopping the progression of  Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.  By activating cells to degrade the toxic proteins that build up in the brains of people with these neurodegenerative diseases, nilotinib, has researchers excited at the possibilities for treatment.

According to National Public Radio, a preliminary study conducted in 2015, found that small doses of a drug used to treat a form of leukemia appeared to help a number of people with Parkinson’s and related forms of dementia.  The discovery has led to larger, more controlled research which will begin this year with input from the Food and Drug Administration.

Georgetown University is currently recruiting participants in two double-blind studies of the drug, nilotinib (trade name Tasigna) in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s and patients with Parkinson’s Disease.  The study will take place over at least a one year period and researchers are optimistic that the drug may slow or even halt the progression of  AD and PD.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s in 2017.  Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost nearly $260 billion in health care expenditures this year and if nothing changes by 2050, these costs could rise to as high as $1.1 trillion.  Currently it is estimated that one in 10 adults over the age of 65 has AD and with the fast-growing senior population, new cases of AD and dementia are expected to soar over the next 20 years.

The risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease also increases with advancing age, affecting one in 100 people over the age of 60.  An estimated one million people in the United states are living with the movement disorder that can also cause cognitive impairment.

To learn more about how to participate in these studies, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health by following this link.