Isradipine — a medication currently approved to treat high blood pressure — is being studied to determine if it can influence the course of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Researchers believe the drug works to prevent the death of dopamine-producing cells and therefore might slow the progression of disease. Previous studies have confirmed drug safety and tolerability so testing will now move into a Phase III clinical trial — the largest, and last, stage of drug development testing. The STEADY-PD trial is recruiting over 300 participants with early PD, each of whom will take either isradipine or placebo and be monitored for three years.
Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, told CBS News that isradipine is one of several active research areas in Parkinson’s. The Foundation has invested millions in helping to advance isradipine from the earliest testing in preclinical models to the current Phase III trial testing. Positive results from this study would move a disease-modifying therapy for Parkinson’s one step nearer to pharmacy shelves.
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