Well, here's some good news. In a recent report by NPR, a leukemia-battling drug called nilotinib appears to have dramatically reduced symptoms in people with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia.
Twelve patients in a research study were given nilotinib for six months, with eleven finding vast improvements in their conditions, citing improved movement and mental function.
One patient in the study, Alan Hoffman, reported remarkable results after only a few weeks on the drug: "Hoffman's scores on cognitive tests began to improve. At home, Nancy Hoffman says her husband was making sense again and regained his ability to focus." NPR goes on to say that Hoffman has been suffering from the neurodegenerative disease since 1997.
Nilotinib works similarly to treating leukemia by eradicating toxic Parkinson's proteins, "It appears that in smaller doses once a day, nilotinib turns on autophagy for about four to eight hours -- long enough to clean out the cells without causing cell death," says Dr. Charbel Moussa, who directs Georgetown's Laboratory of Dementia and Parkinsonism.
It will take time and larger trials to confirm the drug's effects and put it on the market, but for now, this is good news.
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Jeremy Glass is a writer for Thrillist, follow him here: @CandyandPizza