Research for new medication continues

3 October 2016

A new drug in development just increased its chances to find its way on the shelves in pharmacies very soon. This drug, temporarily called APL-130277, is a product developed to offset « off » periods on patients with Parkinson’s disease. It’s during this period, usually a few hours following a dose, that the beneficial effects slowly disappear to gradually let in classic symptoms of the disease: slowness, loss of dexterity, stiffness, difficulty to move and walk.

The Food and Drug Agency, in the USA, has decided to accelerate the approval process of the drug in development APL-130277, which is a very good news. This product has already passed with success various clinical stages and is currently in the third stage of clinical trials. During this stage, therapeutic essays are conducted on hundreds or thousands of patients. The goal is to evaluate the efficiency of the drug and its tolerance. It is important to mention that the development of a new drug for a condition such as Parkinson’s disease goes through many stages which can take years. There is no question that this is good news for patients living with Parkinson’s disease if the tests are a success and the various decision-making bodies approve its marketing.

Sources :

Cynapsus pharmaceutical company


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Breakthrough in Montreal Concerning Research on Parkinson’s Disease

4 July 2016

Montreal researchers have just achieved a major advance in the understanding of Parkinson’s disease by studying immune cells called lymphocytes. Indeed, the results shows that Parkinson could be an autoimmune affectation of the neural system, said Michel Desjardins, professor and researcher at the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology at Université de Montréal. Dr. Desjardins, the lead author of the study published in the prestigious journal Cell, has worked with Dr. Diana Matheoud, a postdoctoral researcher, and Dr. Heidi McBride, from McGill University. This discovery opens the way for new research on the understanding of this disease and the identification of new drugs.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the death of dopaminergic neurons liable for movement. In some cases, this cell death is due to dysfunction of either of the two genes PINK1 and Parkin. According to the work of the University of Montreal team, the destruction of dopaminergic neurons could result of an overactivity of the immune system due to dysfunction of these genes.

The genetic form of Parkinson’s disease (from which the actor Micheal J. Fox suffers) represents only 10% of all cases. Among the associated genes there’s PINK1 and Parkin, but also LRRK2, DJ-1 and alpha-synuclein.

Currently, the theory suggests that a dysfunction of PINK1 and Parkin prevents the neurons to get rid of toxic and dysfunctional mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell. The neurons eventually die because they have an excess of toxic degraded mitochondria, which are normally removed by a process called “mitophagie”.

However, the Montreal researchers discovered, by studying the immune system cells, that in the absence of PINK1 or Parkin genes, portions of mitochondria migrates as vesicles to the cell surface. These mitochondrial vesicles are perceived as extraneous by the immune system and then,…

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Glutathione: hope for Parkinson’s disease?

Maybe you’ve heard of glutathione, this antioxidant which interested several researchers involved in research on Parkinson’s disease. But what is it really of this molecule and its potential benefits for Parkinson’s disease? Here is a summary of the current state of research on glutathione. – A text from the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

What is Glutathione?

Glutathione is an antioxidant made naturally by the body but also available in certain foods and over-the-counter supplements. Glutathione levels decrease with aging and certain conditions, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). In people with PD, glutathione levels are lower in the brain, specifically in the substantia nigra (the area in which dopamine cells are lost). Also, the level of reduction in glutathione has been associated with Parkinson’s disease severity (less glutathione, more advanced PD).

The Role of Glutathione

Glutathione functions as an antioxidant — a compound that clears out free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are potentially toxic to cells. They are formed in the body from normal metabolism (such as converting food to energy), but are increased by exposure to environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke and air pollution. Buildup of free radicals contributes to a condition called oxidative stress, which is associated with aging and PD. Antioxidants may therefore offset oxidative stress by removing free radicals.

In addition to its work as an antioxidant, glutathione may support the mitochondria — the cell’s energy producers. This could prevent cell death, meaning that glutathione could conceivably operate as a “neuroprotective” agent — one that could slow or stop the progression of PD.

The Research on Glutathione

For these reasons, glutathione supplementation has been and is currently being studied to determine if it could provide symptomatic benefit to people with Parkinson’s.

Glutathione can be given…

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Brain Awareness Week 2016

15 March 2016

For 20 years, Brain Awareness Week has united government agencies, scientific organizations, universities, and volunteer groups worldwide to promote the benefits and progress of brain research. This year’s campaign runs from March 14-20 and will be the opportunity to learn more about the amazing work and discoveries in brain research that happen right here in Canada.

Thanks to the different sources of financial support, brain scientists in Canada’s hospitals and universities are finding new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat brain-related illnesses. Over the past five years, more than 130 research projects have been funded. Among them, there are studies on ways to predict Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.

Several universities offer programming during Brain Awareness Week (in French only):

For more information, visit the Brain Awareness Week web site.

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A First Research Symposium

7 March 2016

Parkinson Québec would like to thank all the participants who contributed to the frank success of the first Saucier – van Berkom Research Symposium which was held on February 23.

More than 60 persons attended Pr Louis-Éric Trudeau, Ph. D’s speech, centering on his team’s recent discoveries on overheating of the dopaminergic neurons.

We would also like to thank RéZin, our partner for this event, for the wine served during the dinner cocktail, as well as the Université de Montréal for it’s welcome.

Considering the enthusiasm of our audience, Parkinson Quebec can definitely predict that this event will come back!

Please check our Flickr page to see pictures of the event.

View the promotional video (in French only).

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