L-Dopa and Parkinson’s disease

L-Dopa or Levodopa, the precursor to – among other neurotransmitters – dopamine, has been used as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD) since the late 1960s. Since then L-Dopa has helped many PD sufferers and is still the best drug available. That said, both sufferers and carers know well that L-Dopa has both general and even worst PD specific side-effects, arising from chronic administration. Also at the end of the day L-Dopa is not a cure just a mere symptomatic treatment, So is this the best we can do?

Many in the industry try to reformulate L-Dopa, make more efficient dopamine analogs or come up with secondary treatments. What Parkure wants to do is take a different approach. We want to identify drugs that stop neurodegeneration rather than treat its symptoms. These drugs are going to halt the progression disease instead of trying to restore an already damaged dopaminergic system. We have developed a living system to test drugs against PD. This system is based on research community established models of the disease using the human genetic causes and effectors. The main difference with traditional approaches is that we do not chose a specific drug target, an approach we steered away from as it has not worked well so far. Once the tested drug is administered, we let the living system “decide” if it works. Any successful candidates are then verified on the basis of how much better the dopaminergic neurons survive and can then be taken forward more specific secondary assays and further development. The only way to find a cure and beat PD is to find drugs that stop neurodegeneration. Parkure’s innovative assay is here to do exactly that…

Author: Lysimachos Zografos

CEO of Parkure Ltd.

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