Another trial in the promising diabetes drug cohort for repurposing in Parkinson’s is evaluating the effect of lixisenatide on the progression of Parkinson’s. This trial is co-funded by Cure Parkinson’s and Van Andel Institute through the International Linked Clinical Trials programme.

This study is being conducted in France and is a multicentre two-arm, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind, ‘proof-of-concept’ phase 2 trial.

Several mechanisms including the aggregation of misfolded alpha-synuclein, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation have been related to the way Parkinson’s develops. Recent evidence suggests the implication of brain insulin resistance in the neurodegenerative process of the condition, while glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP1-R) agonists that are approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes have shown to have neuroprotective properties in models of Parkinson’s. (Aviles-Olmos et al., 2013).

Moreover, the results of a clinical pilot trial of exenatide suggested that treatment with this GLP1-R agonist for 12 months improved motor function in people with moderate Parkinson’s. GLP-1 receptor agonists are widely expressed in the central nervous system and drugs such as liraglutide, lixisenatide and exenatide are able to access the brain which makes them promising potential treatments for Parkinson’s.

Lixisenatide is a well-tolerated GLP-1R agonist that can be administered by injection once-daily. This clinical trial aims to assess the effects of lixisenatide, versus placebo, on both motor and non-motor symptoms in people with early stage Parkinson’s.

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