The Fox Focus Spring/Summer 2017 - Page 6

Research RESEARCH BRIEFS Spring/Summer 2017 Symptomatic Treatments Edge Closer to Pharmacy Shelves Today’s Parkinson’s disease (PD) drug development pipeline is rich with symptomatic therapies designed to address patients’ unmet needs. For the sudden and unexpected return of symptoms, inhaled levodopa and under- the-tongue apomorphine will seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval this year. Extended-release amantadine is currently under FDA review for the management of levodopa-induced dyskinesia (involuntary movements). If approved, this would be the first drug specifically indicated to treat dyskinesia. Stay tuned at michaeljfox.org/therapiesindevelopment. Exploring Non-invasive Tests to Measure Parkinson’s Creating a “Molecular Fingerprint” of PD Without a tool to definitively diagnose and track progression of PD, disease- modifying therapies that reach late-stage clinical trials face a potential roadblock: determining whether they slow or stop disease course. MJFF is supporting research into non-invasive tools (e.g., eye movement tests, breath analysis and smartwatches) to measure changes possibly associated with PD. These tests could provide earlier and more precise diagnoses, evaluate therapeutic impact, and even predict Parkinson’s before symptoms appear. Read about an MJFF-funded study investigating an eye-tracking device at michaeljfox.org/noninvasivetest. For decades, scientists have been refining techniques to profile Parkinson’s at the cellular level, defining a “molecular fingerprint” of the disease. The MJFF-led Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative — following more than 1,000 participants at 33 clinical sites for several years — is now using state-of-the-art technology for deeper genetic and molecular profiling. Understanding changes associated with Parkinson’s in DNA, RNA and the proteins that carry out vital functions of life not only may offer a way to diagnose and measure disease but also may point to targets for treatments to slow or stop the pathological process. Learn more at michaeljfox.org/PPMI. 6 The Fox Focus