Novartis cancer med Tasigna may hold promise for Parkinson's patients
- In an early-stage clinical trial at Georgetown University, patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), who received Tasigna (nilotinib)--indicated for blood cancer treatment—had significantly improved symptoms.
- Tasigna caused patients to produce dopamine, which is important, because PD is characterized by decreased production of dopamine.
- This study is the first time that a therapy has actually reversed the cognitive and motor deficits associated with PD.
In people who have PD, their brains slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions. It affects mainly people over the age of 60, who have a 2% to 4% risk of developing PD.
Interestingly, Tasigna is considered a highly effective drug, according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network for treating chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)—and may one day soon have another set of indications.
Larger clinical trials are planned and there is a great deal of excitement in the medical community over the results.