January 20, 2022

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressive chronic neurologic condition, causing a gradual loss of the nerve cells producing the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. While there are no standard diagnostic tests for Parkinson’s, the diagnosis is clinical and based on findings of a neurological exam and information provided by the patient. Tremors occur in about 70% of those living with Parkinson’s, typically appearing on one side of the body, in a hand or a foot, while relaxed or at rest.*

The primary and most potent medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease is Levodopa, which helps restore balance, reduce shaking, and manage other motor issues patients experience. Overall, this treatment is radically helpful for those suffering, but erratic involuntary movements often emerge as a side effect of this drug over time.

“Levodopa is amazing, it works like magic, but it has side effects. If we can eliminate these side effects, it could change the life of patients with Parkinson’s,” says Marcel Daadi, Ph.D., an associate professor at Texas Biomed and lead paper author.

Dyskinesia is a common side effect in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It is not a symptom of the disease itself. Still, it typically emerges about five years into taking Levodopa. And like human patients, primates develop Dyskinesia after receiving Levodopa.

A study commenced at Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) to help make strides in the reduction of Dyskinesia in humans. During this time, Daadi and collaborators administered the compound PD13R (created by medicinal chemists at Temple University) to the marmoset animal model of Parkinson’s. When treated with PD13R, primates experienced relief from uncontrolled movements as their Dyskinesia dropped by more than 85%, a measurement made by with the help of wearable activity monitors.


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