Af­ter years of fail­ures, the hunt for a new type of Parkin­son’s drug is on

Illustration by Kim Ryu for Endpoints News

When­ev­er re­search and de­vel­op­ment in­to new Parkin­son’s drugs are brought up, peo­ple tend to think of fail­ure — for good rea­son. There have been years up­on years of clin­i­cal tri­al flops, and ex­ist­ing ther­a­pies and brain stim­u­la­tion de­vices bring on­ly mod­er­ate re­lief.

While some in­vestors wrote off Parkin­son’s as a lost cause, com­pa­nies, re­searchers and out­side ob­servers are more op­ti­mistic. In re­cent years, the field gained a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the ge­net­ic ba­sis of the dis­ease, and drugs tar­get­ing new path­ways ad­vanced in­to clin­i­cal tri­als, in­clud­ing one pro­gram in late-stage test­ing. The need for treat­ments is acute, with a surge in world­wide di­ag­no­sis for Parkin­son’s, a dis­ease marked by symp­toms like tremors and slowed move­ment, in what re­searchers bill as an epi­dem­ic.

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