World Parkinson’s Day: the year so far in Parkinson’s research – a note from the Editor

Written by Lauren Pulling, Senior Editor

Today (11 April) marks World Parkinson’s Day: an annual opportunity to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and support those who live with the disease, as well as those who care for PD sufferers and the researchers striving to beat the disease. We wanted to use this opportunity to showcase some of the recent research and industry milestones in the field, from stem cell trials to Fast Track Designation for apomorphine – take a look below for our research highlights from the year so far.
Plus, the theme for this year’s international campaign is #UniteForParkinsons – you can find out how people across the world are uniting to share their Parkinson’s story by following the hashtag on Twitter.

The year so far in Parkinson’s research

Stem cell trials

We’re now seeing cell-based therapies being investigated for a number of disorders, with neurodegenerative diseases being no exception. In 2015, the first-in-human clinical study of neural stem cells in patients with PD began, with promising 6-month results now being reported. In light of this, we recently spoke to Russell Kern, CSO at International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO; CA, USA), which developed the ISC-hpNSC cell line being used in the trial. In this interview, Russell tells us more about the trial, next steps, and how these cell lines are also being used to tackle other conditions including traumatic brain injury: read the interview here.

Industry cuts and breakthroughs

The year began with the disappointing news that further neuroscience programs had been cut by industry; this time, the cuts came from Pfizer cutting funding for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s drug development programs following disappointing results from the pharma giant’s neurodegeneration investments. This was certainly a blow to the field, but research has nonetheless come back fighting, with recent progress in LMTX drug therapy development and  the US FDA this month granting Fast Track Designation for APL-130277 (apomorphine) for the treatment of OFF episode in PD patients.

Further 2018 news headlines

New collaborations

And finally, we’re delighted to announce our new (rather timely!) partners, Parkinson’s Foundation. Parkinson’s Foundation strives to make life better for people with PD by improving care and advancing research towards a cure. We’re very much looking forward to working together to share the fantastic work that the Foundation is doing, and continue to bring updates from across the PD field – from bench to bedside – to those researching, living with and fighting the disease.

Best wishes,

Lauren Pulling
Senior Editor, Neuro Central

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