Dr Caroline Williams-Gray of the University of Cambridge is leading a research team conducting a Phase II clinical trial in individuals with recently diagnosed Parkinson's to test whether suppressing the immune system can help to slow the progression of Parkinson's.

The 60 participants in the study will be treated with either the immunosuppressive medication azathioprine or a placebo treatment for 12 months, and then followed up for a further 6-month of evaluations. The change in Parkinson's progression over the 12-month treatment period will be the measure of efficacy. Additional exploratory assessments will also be included in the study, such as biomarker work and brain imaging measures.

There has been a gradually increasing flow of research indicating that the immune system plays an influential role in driving the neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson's.  


Dr Williams-Gray and her team have recently published the protocol of the study, outlining everything that is planned. The Cure Parkinson's Trust is excited to be supporting this trial as it is the first clinical trial of its kind to test a peripherally acting immunosuppressive drug in the potential treatment of Parkinson’s.

Please note: Due to the COVID situation, recruitment for this study is planned to begin in March 2021 and the study will finish in late 2023.

Find out more:

The trial protocol:


More information about the trial: