Parkinson’s clinical trial launches in Luxembourg

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease including shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination Photo: Shutterstock

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease including shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination Photo: Shutterstock

A group of Parkinson’s patients in Luxembourg will form part of a clinical trial that aims to improve treatment of the disease through a new drug delivery system.

The Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) are carrying out the clinical trial together with partners in Italy and Spain to test a novel treatment against Parkinson’s Disease symptoms.

The neurogenerative disease is caused by declining dopamine levels, causing symptoms such as shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination. With no cure available for Parkinson’s, patients are mostly treated with levodopa, a medication that restores dopamine levels.

Pharmaceutical company SynAgile has developed a new mechanism to administer the drug that aims to cut down on side effects. Patients intermittently taking the drug orally report medium-term motor complications. Continuous delivery involves invasive intestinal surgery.

The Luxembourg clinical trial will test whether the system is safe and can deliver stable levels of levodopa. The so-called DopaFuse Delivery System consists of a dental retainer that continuously releases levodopa paste in the back of the patient’s mouth

“Given the side-effects of the current levodopa delivery systems, an alternative method to administer the treatment continuously and in a non-invasive manner while minimising motor side effects remains an important unmet medical need in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease,” said Guy Berchem, deputy director of research at CHL, in a statement.

The trial will recruit 30 patients across the three participating countries, including up to ten people from Luxembourg.

“We are one of the first three countries in the world to be trialling this novel levodopa delivery method,” said Rejko Krüger, principal investigator and director of transveral translational medicine at LIH. “We are confident that our highly collaborative approach will allow us to generate meaningful results and contribute to improving clinical outcomes for our PD patients.”

Luxembourg in 2015 launched the national centre of excellence in research on Parkinson’s Disease, an eight-year programme pooling resources at the country’s research institutions and hospitals, improving the quality of research and connecting the grand duchy to international partners.

The National Research Fund (FNR) budgeted €20m for the programme, with a focus on research that will have a direct impact on Parkinson’s patients.