Parkinson’s disease is neurodegenerative disorder characterized by decline in nervous coordination. The interruption in nervous coordination affects the body and muscular movement. That’s why the initial signs and symptoms are trembling of hands and stiffened muscles.
Parkinson’s disease is one of genetic disorder which is why some of us are at greater risks of developing Parkinson disease due to his familial history of disease. Parkinson’s disease is quiet widespread. According to reports by NIH, over half a million US population has Parkinson’s disease.
There are remarkable developments in research, therapeutics, in field of genetics and recombinant DNA technology that many of the diseases are curable now. Researchers have developed monoclonal antibodies and recombinant engineered antibodies against cancer and a few similar disease. Similarly, for Parkinson’s researchers are striving to develop proper cure or treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The most probable hurdle is complex molecular and genetic basis of disease. However, the recent development and advances in Parkinson’s disease treatment are no doubt promising. Let’s have a look at what’s new in Parkinson disease therapeutics.
New drugs for Parkinson’s disease
Various drugs or medicines are used for relieving the symptoms of Parkinson disease. These drugs help in improving nervous coordination either by mimicking the action of dopamine neurotransmitter or by preventing its excessive breakdown in brain cells. Thus, these drugs improve nervous coordination and also prevent muscular stiffness.
One of the exciting new drugs for PD treatment is Levodopa. This drug enhances the dopamine level in brain cells relieving the symptoms of PD. However, long-term use of levodopa is found to be associated with certain side effects. The patients may develop abnormal and involuntary movements, a condition known as dyskinsesia or levodopa-induced dyskinesia.
To relive dyskinesia, amantadine drug is used. In order to check the efficiency of amantadine drug, a studywas performed undertaking 126 patients of levodopa-induced dyskinesia. The results were promising as dyskinesia symptoms improved in 12 weeks of taking amantadine drug.
Another recently introduced effective drug is opincapone. This drugs basically inhibits the breakdown of levodopa in brain cells thereby improve its retention in blood plasma. Moreover, opincapone drug is effective for relieving and curing motor fluctuations. Many patients experience these motor fluctuations during their treatment. These fluctuations are kind of ‘on’ and ‘off’ periods.
The patients show effective response to drugs as long as the treatment is going on. But, as soon as the treatment procedure ends, the symptoms of Parkinsonism reappear. Therefore, one main focus in Parkinsonism therapeutics is something to control these motor fluctuations and improving the effectiveness of drugs for PD treatment.
Recently, istradefylline drug has been developed for controlling motor fluctuations. Istradefylline drugs blocks certain receptors sites and eventually reduce the ‘off’ period for improving motor fluctuations.
Gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease
Gene therapy is an approach of genetic engineering and recombinant DNA technology. This technique involves replacement of mutated gene in patient’s body, with a normal functional gene.
Gene therapy is a trending and hot topic in Parkinson therapeutics. the aim is to replace the genes of certain enzymes and those which control the neurotransmitter levels in brain cells. Regulating certain genes will be helpful in relieving the symptoms and improving the drug effectiveness. For instance, an enzyme AADA catalyzes the conversion of levodopa drug to dopamine. Low levels of this enzyme result in less production of dopamine due to which the PD symptoms reappear in patients.
The researchers at Voyager Therapeutics are testing to deliver this enzyme’s gene in PD patients. Similarly, scientists at Axovant Sciences are testing another type of gene therapy which is based on one –time surgical procedure. The aim is to infuse genes in brain cells of patient. The gene is basically an instruction for production of dopamine neurotransmitter in brain cells. The trials of gene therapy for Parkinson disease are underway. Although the early results of this trial are promising, yet there is a long way to go to make gene therapy a common medical practice for PD. One of the major concerns is ensuring the safety of patients and long-term effects of undergoing gene therapy treatment for PD.
Parkinson’s disease is one of the major diseases for which proper medication or therapy is yet to be developed. However, certain drugs have been developed over in recent years to deal with this neurodegenerative disorder. Gene therapy is one of the main focus points of research in field of genetic engineering for treatment of Parkinson’s disease.