The international Linked Clinical Trials initiative (LCT) identifies potential new treatments to slow, stop and reverse Parkinson’s disease by repurposing drugs that have been approved to treat other conditions. The LCT scientific committee prioritises new treatments once a year to identify the most promising drugs to fast-track into clinical trials, with the hope of not only proving efficacy but also shortening the time it takes for a potential treatment to move from the laboratory to clinical trials and, ultimately, to the patient. By selecting drugs that have already passed rigorous safety and toxicology trials, this approach can reduce the cost of bringing new Parkinson’s disease treatments to fruition.

More than 90 percent of drugs fail during development (Brundin et al 2013). Those that do pass early trials face a long road before they can be used to treat patients—it can take more than a decade and more than a billion dollars to move a drug from development to implementation. The long time span for drug development and the huge costs of clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease seriously hamper therapeutic progress.

This is where the international LCT has found its niche. An initiative developed by The Cure Parkinson's Trust and supported by the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI), the LCT committee is made up of leading Parkinson’s disease experts from around the world.