Drug for Cancer Shows Promise in Reversing Dementia and ParkinsonísChris Middlebrooks (Author) Published Date : Oct 20, 2015 00:39 IST
A drug that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already has approved for treating myelogenous leukemia reportedly has shown promise during a small study in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
The study had just 12 patients who used nilotinib the cancer drug. The 12 participants suffered from either Parkinson s disease or Lewy body dementia. In the study, the patients received increasing doses of the cancer drug from 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams during a six-month period.
During the six-month trial, the patients showed much improvement in their cognition, motor skills as well as non-motor function.
One of the co-authors of the study said the participants that were in the earlier stages of the disease responded the best, as did those who has been diagnosed with Lewy body, often described as a combination between Alzheimer s disease and Parkinson s, said researchers.
The researchers said that nilotinib was given in doses that are smaller than when used for treating cancer and effectively helped clear toxic buildup of proteins inside the brain, which disrupt normal functioning for both patients with dementia and Parkinson s. When the buildup of toxic proteins is cleared, normal function is then restored.
One of the author s of the study said that with a very small amount of this drug, they were able to clear the proteins that are said to by neurotoxic.
One patient, a retired professor at Georgia State University, was diagnosed in 1997 with Parkinson s. As the conditions of the disease worsened, it become more difficult for him to focus and move.
He said that before taking nilotinib he rarely did anything in the house, now he empties the trash, unloads the dishwasher and can load the dryer, set the table and even grill food for dinner.
He has started reading newspapers and books again as well.
Researchers did note that this study had been conducted without any control group, and that nilotinib was not compared with any other type drugs that are used for treating dementia and Parkinson s or a placebo.
Drug for Cancer Shows Promise in Reversing Dementia and Parkinsonís