Parkinson’s UK, the largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research in Europe, is partnering with University College London (UCL), and investing £1 million in a pioneering phase II clinical trial to explore if the drug ondansetron is safe and effective against hallucinations. There are currently 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the U.K. and 75% of them will experience visual hallucinations at some point.
The trial comes at a crucial time as a survey carried out by the charity worryingly found that 1 in 10 people with Parkinson’s reported an increase in hallucinations during lockdown. This led to an increase in calls to their helpline.
The funding for this four-year project comes via the charity’s drug development arm, the Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech. Launched in 2017, the innovative program is plugging the funding gap to fast-track the projects with the greatest scientific potential to transform the lives of people with Parkinson’s. This is the second clinical trial to be added to the Virtual Biotech’s pipeline of projects in a drive to develop better drug treatments for people with Parkinson’s.
The 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is set to recruit 216 people over two years in 20 to 25 National Health Service clinics across the U.K. Participants will be randomized to receive either drug or placebo tablets, to take at home for 12 weeks. To accommodate social distancing, researchers will conduct the majority of the study via video or telephone consultations, with face-to-face assessments limited to only three for essential blood tests or ECGs. Visual and other types of hallucinations, as well as delusions (false beliefs), will be assessed after six and 12 weeks of treatment, along with Parkinson’s related motor and non-motor symptoms.
Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is the drug discovery and development arm of Parkinson’s U.K., the largest charitable funder of Parkinson’s research in Europe. The Virtual Biotech launched in March 2017, and by the end of 2019 they had committed more than £8 million to create a pipeline of projects at the drug discovery, preclinical and early clinical development stages. Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech is driven by people with Parkinson’s, working flexibly, creatively and collaboratively with co-investors, institutions and companies worldwide who share our vision to drive forward drug development and clinical trials.
This was reported by Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech on October 26, 2020.
Contact information: Parkinson’s Virtual Biotech, 215 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 1EJ, United Kingdom; 020 7931 8080; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: https://www.parkinsonsvirtualbiotech.co.uk/