Drug designed to break up PHLEGM for patients with bronchitis ‘could slow down the progression of Parkinson’s by helping to keep brain cells healthy’
- Ambroxol is designed to ease coughing by clearing away mucus in the lungs
- Study found drug increased levels of protein called glucocerebrosidase (GCase)
- GCase helps to remove waste in cells, a function lacking in Parkinson’s sufferers
- Doing so may keep cells healthier for longer and slow progression of Parkinson’s
A drug that breaks up phlegm in patients with bronchitis may slow the progression of Parkinson’s, a trial has suggested.
Ambroxol is designed to ease coughing by clearing away mucus in the lungs of patients with respiratory diseases.
Now experiments have found the drug may aid Parkinson’s sufferers by helping to remove waste in cells – a function lacking in patients with the cruel condition.
The study found the drug increased levels of a protein called glucocerebrosidase (GCase).
GCase helps to remove waste in cells, and it therefore may keep them healthier for longer and slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
A drug originally designed to break up phlegm in patients with bronchitis may slow progression of Parkinson’s disease, a trial has suggested (stock)
It causes muscle stiffness, slow movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue and can lead to severe disability.
Experts wanted to examine whether it was possible for ambroxol to cross the blood-brain barrier and increase levels of GCase.
The blood-brain barrier, a semi-permeable layer which separates circulating blood from the brain, prevents most drugs from acting in the brain.
Researchers at University College London and the Royal Free Hospital tested the drug on 17 Parkinson’s sufferers over six months.
They found that as well as patients being able to tolerate the drug, ambroxol could cross the blood-brain barrier and boost levels of GCase.
The results, published in the journal JAMA Neurology, raise hopes for the 127,000 people in the UK living with the condition and the study will now move on to further trials.
Parkinson’s affects an estimated one million people in the US and around 10million people worldwide.
Dr Simon Stott, of the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, said: ‘The ambroxol study is important because there are no treatments available for Parkinson’s that slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s.
‘All of the current medications only deal with the symptoms of the condition – they do nothing to delay the progression of Parkinson’s.
‘This study provides us with the “proof of concept” that we can raise levels of GCase in humans with ambroxol, and that the drug is safe and well tolerated in people with Parkinson’s.
‘If further study shows ambroxol can improve the health and function of cells, it may result in slower disease progression for people with Parkinson’s.’
WHAT IS PARKINSON’S? THE INCURABLE DISEASE THAT STRUCK BOXER MUHAMMAD ALI
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.
Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.
The disease claimed the life of boxing legend Muhammad Ali in 2016.