The drug, already approved by the FDA for cancer treatment, improved cognition, motor skills and non-motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease, the university researchers reported.
Note: earlier/sooner FDA approval as it is existing drug
"To my knowledge, this study represents the first time a therapy appears to reverse -- to a greater or lesser degree depending on stage of disease -- cognitive and motor decline in patients with these neurodegenerative disorders," said Dr. Fernando Pagan, an associate professor of neurology. One patient confined to a wheelchair regained the ability to walk and three others individuals who were unable to speak before the trial were able to conduct conversations. However, the researchers noted that larger and more comprehensive studies and trials would be required to gauge the drug's true potential impact.
"The use of nilotinib (AMN107, trade name Tasigna), in doses much smaller than are used to treat cancer, which is up to 800 milligrams daily, was well tolerated with no serious side effects," Pagan explains.
For the trial the doses were kept between 150 and 300 milligrams daily, he added.
According to the researchers, one of the reasons for the trial's success was that Tasigna was able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier more effectively than existing Parkinson's drugs. Moreover, they are already planning larger clinical trials with the drug for Parkinson's and other diseases including Alzheimer's.
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