Pioneering and promising work by Siberian scientists in countering this debilitating motor system disorder is stalled due to a lack of funds for vital additional research, and no proper system for developing new drugs, it is claimed.
Specialists at the Vorozhtsov Institute of Organic Chemistry in Novosibirsk believe they have had a breakthrough in treating Parkinson's Disease (PD), but now find their hands tied.
'We have synthesized a compound which completely removes all symptoms of Parkinson's disease in animals,' leading researcher Konstantin Volcho told the press-service of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science.
'Tests on animals with PD demonstrated that the medicine returns all parameters back to normal and does not require additional medication. It has also been proven by long-term experiments.'
The medicine will not cure PD completely, yet the Siberian specialists say it is a breakthrough in PD treatment as it allows patients to live a normal, healthy life for a longer period.
'Currently there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, the main target of PD treatment is to give patients the maximum quality of life for as long as possible.'
Yet since their breakthrough was first highlighted in 2010, the scientists have struggled to complete the additional tests that must be conducted before exposing their drugs to humans.
In other countries, big drugs companies have special departments to 'promote' the future of medicine, while in Russia this work has to be done by the researchers, said Volcho.
Having made the breakthrough with a new compound shown as highly effective on animals, there should be a back-up system 'to deal with its pre-clinical and clinical studies and commercialisation', he said. 'But we don't have such special people.'
Calling for a drugs development centre in Novosibirsk, he said: 'We would have been able to transfer research into development centre at the stage where it is proved that the animal tests went well, which means that you can move to the next stage.'
Such a centre would do synthesis and pre-clinical studies of new drugs, as well as the development of dosage forms.
'Large pharmaceutical companies are working with materials that are shown to be effective in the second stage of clinical trials. And we cannot bring the development to this phase by ourselves,' he said.
The scientists are currently continuing the work as best they can, and seeking money for full pre-clinical trials which the institute cannot afford.
The total cost of pre-clinical trials is put at around 40 million roubles - about $1.25 million - and their successful completion is a prerequisite to start testing on humans.
The Novosibirsk team say their compound known as DIOL does not have the side effects for PD sufferers that the widely used drug Levodopa can cause.
Without additional tests and then - at the appropriate moment - trials on PD sufferers, the drug cannot reach the market, however good it maybe.
PD is a motor system disorder, which occurs due to the death of dopamine-producing brain cells. It is typically found in people over the age of 50, and is more common in women, than men. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slowness of movement and impaired balance and coordination.
According to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, nearly one million Americans are living with the disease, and 60,000 were diagnosed last year.
The symptoms are initially very mild, but when they start progressing, doctors usually prescribe medicines to replace the brain's lost dopamine. The extremely severe patients have to undergo brain surgery.
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