Parkinson's website improves data access

Related tags Parkinson Parkinson's disease Dopamine

Scientists researching pharmaceutical treatments for Parkinson's
disease are invited to submit study information to a new patient
website, which is intended to improve access to information on
Parkinson's clinical trials, speeding up the process of developing
an effective drug therapy.

The new reference tool brings hope to the 1.5 million people who suffer from Parkinson's disease, and about 60,000 new patients are diagnosed every year in the US. Although it is commonly thought of as a disease of the elderly, 15 per cent of Parkinson's victims are under the age of 50.

The website,​, aims to provide a tool for patients and physicians to identify trials that are actively seeking patients. The site will also help to educate patient communities on the value of clinical research.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive, degenerative neurological disorder in which dopamine-producing neurons in the part of the brain responsible for coordinating muscle movement die or become so damaged that they are no longer able to function.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a "chemical messenger" that transfers information from neuron to neuron, ultimately allowing us to use our muscles in a smooth, coordinated way. Disease symptoms, such as tremor, rigidity, difficulty coordinating movement and difficulty with balance, begin to manifest themselves when about 80 per cent of a victim's dopamine-producing neurons have died.

The concept of the website grew from a public awareness initiative known as Advancing Parkinson's Therapies (APT). The site currently lists over 30 Parkinson's clinical studies recruiting patients in the US and includes interventional and observational studies.

Only about 5-10 per cent of Parkinson's appears to be inherited, and to date five genes have been implicated in patients with a familial history of the disease. Studies of these inherited forms of Parkinson's have led to insights on its pathogenesis in sporadic or non-inherited cases.

The cause of Parkinson's disease is currently unknown and there is no way to prevent its onset and once diagnosed, it has no cure. Treatment is limited to ameliorating symptoms with a variety of therapies, including dopamine-based drug therapy.

Related topics Preclinical Research Drug Delivery

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