The International Linked Clinical Trials (iLCT) programme
This unique programme of research – the brain-child of Cure Parkinson’s Director of Research, Dr Richard Wyse – screens multiple prospective new treatments for Parkinson’s.
Our International Linked Clinical Trials (iLCT) programme is a drug-repurposing initiative, focused on disease-modification in Parkinson’s, that operates year round. It brings together leading world experts in Parkinson’s to determine further underlying pathologies of Parkinson’s, and to discuss and debate the virtues of 20 or more promising drugs to decide which should be prioritised and managed into clinical trials.
The iLCT initiative already has momentum. There are now over 40 drugs prioritised, with many already in, or about to go in to, clinical trial. Our goal for the next five years is to ensure we can commit more potential treatments to trial for people living with Parkinson’s.
The Drug Prioritisation Process
The iLCT meeting occurs every year, and preparations continue year-round. The process starts by identifying the biological pathways of interest in what we know about the underlying pathology of Parkinson’s; we maintain a constant vigil on research being published which targets these pathways.
Once promising drugs have been identified, we begin exploring their basic characteristics. In most cases, for example, it is vitally important that a drug can access the brain by penetrating the blood brain barrier which protects it. It is also important to understand the safety and tolerability of the compounds being discussed. This rigorous selection process forms the basis of how Cure Parkinson’s decides which drugs should be tested in people. This has resulted in a clinical trial programme that involves many drugs now in clinical trials; some of which are about to start, some nearing completion and some, having completed, are moving quickly on to the next phase. We believe that the iLCT programme is currently the fastest way of bringing much needed and potentially curative treatments into the clinic for the Parkinson’s community.
Over the course of the year, Cure Parkinson’s discusses the case for each potential therapy with various biotech companies and academic researchers. It is important to appreciate that these therapies are experimental; in many cases, very little is known about their Parkinson’s potential.
As Chair of the iLCT committee since the programme was created in 2012, Van Andel Institute’s Professor Patrik Brundin has been instrumental in its success and the two organisations’ partnership has been a vital ingredient in this flourishing programme. Professor Brundin explains the role of the iLCT committee.
The iLCT initiative already has momentum. There are now over 40 drugs prioritised, with 17 already in or about to go into clinical trial, and 44 being actively pursued. Our goal is to ensure we can commit more therapies to trial to create new, effective treatments that slow, stop or even reverse disease progression for people living with Parkinson’s.
The drug selection process is governed and evaluated by a committee of world leading scientists, physicians and advocates, all experts in their field of Parkinson’s research.
In January 2019, the Australian Parkinson’s Mission – 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 – was awarded a A$30 million government grant to identify and fast-track better treatments for Parkinson’s. This innovative Australian-led programme of research expands the global Linked Clinical Trials programme spearheaded by Cure Parkinson’s and establishes a first step towards personalised medicine providing an opportunity to deliver multiple clinical trials that incorporate advanced genetic and biomarker studies in a way that has not been done before.