Researchers from an Australian biotech company called Collaborative Medicinal Development recently presented positive data from their Phase I clinical trial of a compound called CuATSM.

The results suggested that 24 weeks of treatment with CuATSM was safe and well tolerated, and the participants experienced a marked improvement in their Parkinson's(PD) symptoms (based on the total UPDRS clinical rating scale and quality of life measures).

Cu-ATSM is an orally administered, blood-brain barrier permeable synthetic molecule that contains copper. It has traditionally been used as an imaging agent for hypoxic tissues (starved of oxygen), but preclinical evidence, including the interesting results in a clinical trial of motor neurone disease earlier this year, has been accumulating that it could be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions. Cu-ATSM has previously been evaluated by the International Linked Clinical Trials programme coordinated by The Cure Parkinson's Trust.

Both the MND and PD studies were "open label" which means that all of the participants were aware that they were on the treatment raising the possibility that a placebo effect could explain the results. However, the coordinators of the study were pleased with the results and they are now setting up a larger, "blinded" study to test the efficacy of CuATSM.

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