Could a cholesterol-lowering drug treat Parkinson’s?

London, Jan 11 (IANS) In their quest to find new treatments that could slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological condition that affects movement and speech, researchers in Britain are set to investigate in humans the potential of a cholesterol-lowering drug in treating the disease.

Spearheaded by Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the study will investigate the usefulness of cholesterol-lowering treatment Simvastatin in 198 people with Parkinson’s, an official statement said.

The trial is seeking people who have been living with Parkinson’s and who are not already taking a statin, the statement added.

“It is encouraging to see new compounds that are already approved as being safe for use in man being trialled for use in Parkinson’s,” said the trial’s chief investigator Camille Carroll from Plymouth University said.

“There have been few innovations in the treatment of Parkinson’s for over 40 years and for the more than 127,000 people living with the condition in the UK, the results of this trials programme could lead to new and highly effective treatments in the armoury of medications to tackle Parkinson’s,” Carroll said.

Worldwide, it is estimated that 10-20 million people are living with Parkinson’s disease and this number is expected to double by 2030.

At present there is no cure and little understanding as to why some people develop the condition.

“The results of a recent trial in multiple sclerosis with simvastatin, and the pre-clinical work investigating its effect on alpha-synuclein clumping (which is a common feature of Parkinson’s) indicate that it could be an effective treatment to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s,” Tom Isaacs, co-founder of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT), a leading Britain-based charity to fund research to slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s.

This trial is part of The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s Linked Clinical Trials Programme which is now in its fourth year.

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