Finding new therapies for Parkinson's disease (PD) is a complicated process. Each compound has to navigate through safety trials, proof of concept trials, tolerability and efficacy trials, long term effect assessments - all of which take years to administer and many more to complete.

In 2012, The Cure Parkinson's Trust (CPT) facilitated the assembly of an international committee of experts - the Linked Clinical Trials (LCT) committee - to prioritise the most promising existing drugs and treatments that may be potentially suitable for repurposing in Parkinson's with the specific aim of changing the course of the disease. The committee has met annually since and this weekend (2nd to 4th September 2016) saw the group convene in its fifth year!

The LCT committee evaluates multiple drugs currently used, or being developed, in other therapeutic areas, as well as considering natural, non-pharmaceutically based compounds. It prioritises drugs and compounds from a dossier of recommendations compiled by Dr Richard Wyse (CPT Director of Research and Development) and assesses which of these putative treatments would potentially be most suited to move immediately into pilot clinical trials. Aspects considered include known modes of action, safety, blood-brain-barrier penetration, preclinical data in animal models of PD and the possibility to monitor target engagement in the brain (Brundin et al 2013).

LCT Meeting 2nd-4th September 2016

We were exceptionally grateful for all those members of the committee who made huge effort to join us, particularly those who flew in from the U.S. and those who gave up their holiday weekend!

CPT is honoured to be able to work with such a fantastic group of global experts in Parkinson’s and through the committee's combined efforts, we are making significant, important and tangible progress in our common quest to identify, test and develop new disease modifying therapies to treat Parkinson’s. We believe that the collective vision, 'can-do' attitude and sense of common purpose that this committee engenders has the potential to make a huge difference to the Parkinson’s field in terms of the range of treatments available, the manner in which they are assessed and the speed with which they reach the clinic.

This year, after stimulating debate, the committee prioritised 5 of the 26 compounds that were recommended: MSDC-0160, Trehalose (which was initially discussed in 2012), MMF and Nortriptyline. Also of interest were the next generation of Diabetes type 11 treatments.

Our next job is to indentify the pathways necessary to bring these treatments forward to trial as well as continuing to focus our energies on the drugs that have already been prioritised in previous LCT meetings: NAC, Nilotinib and UDCA.