New trial will investigate LRRK2 inhibitors for Parkinson’s

Esther Sammler

A study that could lead to the development of new treatments for Parkinson’s disease has launched at the University of Dundee, Scotland.

The study is utilising LRRK2 inhibitors developed by Denali Therapeutics and Biogen. Mutations in the LRRK2 protein kinase are the most frequent cause of inherited Parkinson’s disease and it is hoped that an inhibitor could slow progression of the disease.

“This is a significant step forward in the quest to develop new Parkinson’s treatments,” said Dr Esther Sammler, local Principal Investigator for the trial and Clinical Group Leader in the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU). “Welcoming the first patient in the UK to be involved in the trial of this drug is testament to the years of hard work undertaken here in Dundee to unlock the secrets of this cruel disease.”

Understanding of the LRRK2 kinase was initially developed by Professor Dario Alessi, Director of the MRC-PPU, and his team.

“Unlocking the workings of LRRK2 was the toughest challenge of my career,” Alessi said. “It is hugely gratifying to know that the research carried out here in Dundee has ultimately led to trials such as this. However, while this is a significant milestone, we have to acknowledge that there is still a lot of work ahead to establish whether LRRK2 therapeutics will benefit patients and stall the progression of Parkinson’s. There are also huge challenges and timescales involved in researching anything to do with Parkinson’s disease.”

Photo shows: Dr Esther Sammler.

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