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Northwestern study tests drug against Parkinson's disease
Date:4/1/2014

CHICAGO --- Tanya Simuni, M.D., medical director of Northwestern University's Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, was awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct a $16 million phase III study of the safety and efficacy of the drug isradipine as a potential neuroprotective agent in Parkinson's disease.

This is the only phase III Parkinson's neuroprotective study currently funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at NIH. The research is being conducted by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in partnership with the University of Rochester Medical Center. The study will be carried out at 56 Parkinson Study Group centers in North America over five years.

"If this drug proves to be safe and effective, it will change the way we treat Parkinson's disease," said Simuni, the principal investigator of the study. "The major advantage is isradipine is already widely available and inexpensive and will allow for rapid translation of our research into clinical practice. Although we now have very effective symptomatic treatments to manage Parkinson's, the development of a disease-modifying intervention remains the Holy Grail."

Simuni is the Arthur C. Nielsen, Jr. Research Professor in Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders at Feinberg and a neurologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Parkinson's is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Prominent traits include tremor, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement and impaired balance and coordination. While there are pharmaceutical and alternative therapies available to manage the disease, there are currently no cures or treatments that definitively slow its progression. Researchers are looking for treatments to delay disease progression. If isradipine proves effective, the drug could revolutionize the treatment of Parkinson's.

Isradipine has been approved by the Food
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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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