Our priority projects include trials of drugs that are closest to reaching the clinic, as well as the projects that need funding most urgently. This includes pre-clinical and clinical trials.


The results of a large phase 2 trial showed that exenatide, a drug used to treat diabetes, may slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Cure Parkinson’s has been at the forefront of the exenatide journey in Parkinson’s since the start. We funded the first ever clinical study of exenatide in people with Parkinson’s; we are nowco-funding two sub-studies in the current phase 3 clinical trial.

Exenatide and Parkinson’s

Based on evidence that this simple cough medicine offers potential as a treatment for Parkinson’s, our International Linked Clinical Trials committee prioritised ambroxol for clinical evaluation in Parkinson’s. A UK-based clinical trial, co-funded by Cure Parkinson’s, together with international efforts, now suggests ambroxol as a promising avenue in our search for treatments to halt the progression of Parkinson’s. The planning for more extensive investigation of ambroxol is now underway.

Ambroxol and Parkinson’s

There is increasing evidence that inflammation and the immune system might have contributory roles in the development and progression of Parkinson’s. This clinical trial of azathioprine (AZA-PD), a medication already used to treat inflammation by dampening down the immune system’s response, will aim to slow the progression of Parkinson’s.

Azathioprine and Parkinson’s

A number of small studies have suggested that a class of antidepressants called ‘tricyclics’ may be more effective than others at treating depression in people with Parkinson’s. Evidence is mounting that they could also protect dopamine neurons in the brain; the crucial cells that are damaged and lost in Parkinson’s. Now Cure Parkinson’s is funding a sub-study of the main phase 2 trial, to investigate the critical question of whether nortriptyline can slow the progression of the disease.

Nortriptyline and Parkinson’s
Iron removing medications (iron chelation)

Removing excess iron from the body has powerful antioxidant effects known to dramatically increase cell survival. It is hoped that decreasing the levels of iron in the brain will improve symptoms and decrease the rate of progression of Parkinson’s.

Iron chelation and Parkinson’s
Brain growth factors

Nerve growth or neurotrophic factors are small proteins that support neurons and encourage their growth and survival during development. Cure Parkinson’s is supporting a pre-clinical study focused on a brain growth factor called cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor or CDNF.

Neurotrophic factors for Parkinson’s

UDCA is used to treat liver disease. This trial will establish if UDCA is safe and tolerable at the dose needed to reach the brain. It will also see if it can preserve or improve the chemistry in the brain, and whether this translates into improvements in patients’ movement and mobility.

UDCA and Parkinson’s

Our International Linked Clinical Trials programme (iLCT)

Our iLCT programme screens multiple prospective new treatments for Parkinson’s.

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The Australian Parkinson’s Mission (APM)

The Australian Parkinson’s Mission is an international collaboration between the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Shake It Up Australia Foundation, Parkinson’s Australia, Cure Parkinson’s and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s.

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Associate Professor Anthony Cooper, Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Take part in research

There are many different ways you can get involved in Parkinson’s research.

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