French drugmaker Sanofi said on Thursday it would collaborate with the Michael J. Fox Foundation to test an early- stage experimental treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Under the terms of the collaboration, MJFF will sponsor a phase I clinical trial to study the safety and tolerability of Sanofi’s AVE8112, a drug that has shown promise in preclinical tests as a therapy for some of the psychiatric symptoms of the disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that leads to shaking and difficulty with walking as well as mood changes and impaired memory.
All data and results generated by the clinical trial will be owned by MJFF and shared with Sanofi. Further development plans will be based on the results of the study, Sanofi said.
Patient enrollment in the study, which will be conducted in the U.S., is expected to begin later this year.
Parkinson’s Disease Facts and Statistics
Parkinson’s Disease or “shaking palsy” is a brain disorder that causes muscle tremor, stiffness, and weakness. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include muscular stiffness, a tendency to tire more easily than usual, and trembling that usually begins with a slight tremor in one hand, arm, or leg. This trembling is worse when the body is at rest but will generally stop when the body is in use, for example when the hand becomes occupied by “pill-rolling” or rubbing the thumb and forefinger together as if rolling a pill the tremor will stop.
As the disease progresses drooling, loss of appetite, stiffness affecting both sides of the body, weakness, trembling muscles, a rigid posture, slow movements, a stooped, shuffling, unbalanced walk, constant trembling of the hands, head shaking, permanent rigid stoop, and an unblinking, fixed expression occur.
In the later stages of Parkinson’s disease the affected person loses the ability to control their movements, making everyday activities hard to manage, and the intellect begins to be affected by the disease. About one-third of Parkinson’s Disease sufferers eventually show signs of dementia. The disease runs an average ten year course and ultimately results in death usually by an infection or aspiration pneumonia.
Parkinson’s Disease affects over 1 million people in the US alone and is one of the most common debilitating diseases in the country. One person in 200 will get Parkinson’s Disease during their lifetime with the risk increasing with age (1 in every 100 persons over 60 has Parkinson’s). The disease is more common in men than in women.
(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Nina Sovich)