Cure Parkinson’s Research Officer, Rosie Fuest, discusses the importance of the International Linked Clinical Trials programme in the search for a cure.

Rosie Fuest

At a recent meeting of representatives from the Parkinson’s field, a phrase was often repeated: ‘If you have met one person with Parkinson’s then you have met one person with Parkinson’s.’ This is a reflection on the many, complex ways in which Parkinson’s can present and is pre-emptive of the fact that a cure may not be a one-size-fits-all solution. It is also one of the many reasons as to why the International Linked Clinical Trials (iLCT) platform is so intrinsically important.

Our research team is currently in the midst of writing dossiers for the interventions set to be assessed this year by the iLCT committee, preparing each one to be critically analysed. The programme brings together world experts in Parkinson’s to assess drugs, often from other disease areas but with the potential to be repurposed or repositioned to modify the progression of Parkinson’s, and identify which should be prioritised to move forward urgently into clinical trials for Parkinson’s.

An array of drugs being assessed year on year means that iLCT is opening up the possibility of a cure to as many people with Parkinson’s as possible whilst safeguarding trials that don’t quite go to plan. Whilst it is disappointing to see drugs not meet their primary endpoints or goal, each intervention that is trialed will result in positive learnings. Might a similar compound be more effective, might some people have responded well but others not at all and, most importantly, why? The mechanism of iLCT, now in its tenth year, is providing a constant pipeline of drugs ready to benefit from this improved understanding.

The clinical pipeline paper that was recently written by Parkinson’s advocates in collaboration with Cure Parkinson’s research team illustrates the major influence that iLCT has on the wider research field.

40% of all potentially disease modifying drugs currently in clinical trial have been assessed by the iLCT programme.

We have recently seen positive results from iLCT prioritised drugs such as Anle138b and liraglutide and we are working closely with the study teams on the critical next steps. Additionally, two of the soon to be four phase 3 disease modifying trials in Parkinson’s are testing iLCT prioritised drugs – exenatide and ambroxol.

To date, nearly 4,000 people with Parkinson’s are participating in or have participated in iLCT trials alone, representing the significant impact of the programme in the Parkinson’s community. As these drugs move through the phases of testing, the research field continues to build a three-dimensional understanding of Parkinson’s that can only benefit the search for a cure.