The 2018 LCT group consisting of 12 outstanding neuroscientists and neurologists with over 30 highly-skilled patient advocates, funders and others - a truly global effort to find a cure!

The 2018 Linked Clinical Trials (LCT) meeting was held on 25th September at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan where the annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson's symposium takes place. This annual event prioritises the most promising existing drugs/therapies that could be potentially used as disease-modifying treatments for slowing, stopping or even reversing Parkinson's.                                                                                                                                                                                                              
In addition to the international panel of Parkinson's experts who had gathered for the meeting, there were numerous additional stakeholders also in attendance - including representatives from the Michael J Fox Foundation, Parkinson's UK, the Silverstein Foundation, Shake It Up Australia, government organisations and members of the patient community. This meeting acknowledges not only of the ‘lived experience’ of the affected community, but also considers the thoughts and advice of patient advocates who have specific skill sets (such as a clinical trial experts, physicians and biotech experts). 

Ahead of the 2018 meeting, Dr Richard Wyse said: 

"Our international Linked Clinical Trials programme is leading from the front in the quest to find a cure for Parkinson’s. For the past 7 years we have assembled a large group of world experts in Parkinson's and tasked them to identify and put into clinical trials new disease-slowing therapeutics which we hope will make a tangible long-term difference to people with Parkinson's. This LCT approach developed by CPT has been groundbreaking in medical research, not just in Parkinson’s. We currently have clinical trials running in many countries around the world as part of this LCT initiative, and many more new trials will launch over the next few months. By bringing our committee of experts together, we have been fast tracking the programme and bringing the leading minds of medicine and science together in the drive to find a cure."

Of the twenty two compounds evaluated at this year's meeting, seven were prioritised by the committee for clinical evaluation in Parkinson's. The mechanism of action behind the selected compounds varied greatly, denoting the different approaches being taken to tackle the condition.

A major theme considered this year was the prodromal phase of Parkinson’s - the period of time before diagnosis. It is a window during which neurodegeneration is taking place, but not enough dopamine neurons have been lost for the motor features of Parkinson’s to be apparent. It is only towards the end of the prodromal phase that the first signs of the motor symptoms start to appear (which leads to the diagnosis).

Researchers are starting to define specific characteristics of this prodromal phase that will allow us to identify people who have a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s. This represents a major shift in the battle against Parkinson’s. The ability to identify those at high risk of Parkinson’s would potentially allow treatment to be started before the current point of diagnosis.

Background

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.

The Cure Parkinson's Trust and the Van Andel Research Institute coordinates 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 2010. By the end of 2018 14 of these drugs will be either in or just completing trials, with a further 8 trials planned for 2019.

Further reading: https://parkinsonsnewstoday.com/2018/10/09/linked-clinical-trials-initiative-boosts-number-of-parkinsons-clinical-studies/

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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