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Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards $1 Million for Critical Step Toward Development of Dyskinesia Treatments
Date:12/21/2009

Clinical study seeks to validate dyskinesia clinical scales, lowering hurdle to industry investment in new treatments

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has awarded $1 million for a clinical study aiming to make a critical step toward the development of new treatments for dyskinesia, the excessive and uncontrollable movements that are a complication of long-term dopamine replacement therapy in patients with Parkinson's disease. The goal is to establish a framework for testing novel anti-dyskinesia treatments by validating clinical scales used to measure changes in dyskinesia severity.

Significant problems in measuring dyskinesia and assessing the efficacy of potential new therapies have created major roadblocks to clear-cut trial results and, therefore, industry investment leading to new and better interventions. The establishment of validated tools for use in dyskinesia clinical trials would significantly reduce the barrier for biotech and pharmaceutical companies to invest in trials to address this debilitating aspect of living with Parkinson's.

"Dyskinesia is a top priority for our Foundation because of its significant negative impact on patients' quality of life," said Katie Hood, Foundation CEO. "There is no therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat it. Clinicians primarily prescribe one medication, amantadine. But amantadine works only for some patients and for a limited time and, in any case, its efficacy against dyskinesia requires rigorous scientific validation."

The study holds two primary aims: quantitatively establish the degree of changes in dyskinesia severity as a result of treatment with amantadine; and conclusively determine which scale or scales most accurately detect these changes. Patients will be treated with amantadine or placebo, and then have their dyskinesia rated over the course
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SOURCE The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
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