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Testing Diabetes Drug On Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative neurological disorder marked by a progressive loss of motor control. Despite intensive research, there are currently no approved therapies that have been demonstrated to alter the progression of the disease.

In this issue of the , Dr. and colleagues at the in London investigated the use of a drug approved for diabetes care, , in . were divided into two groups: 20 patients received injections for 12 months, while the other group of 24 patients served as controls. Due to high manufacturing costs, the control group did not receive placebo injections and the patients were aware of their group assignment. Foltynie and colleagues observed that was well tolerated. After one year of treatment patients receiving displayed improved cognitive ability and motor skills, while control patients declined. Though this trial cannot rule out a placebo effect, the study suggests that may improved motor function in PD patients and provides a strong rationale for conducting a larger, blinded study to determine the effectiveness of in PD.

In the accompanying commentary, Roger Barker (University of Cambridge), Mark Stacy (Duke University) and Patrik Brundin (Van Andel Institute) discuss the novel, cost-saving clinical trial design used in this study.

TITLE: Exenatide and the treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease


ACCOMPANYING COMMENTARY TITLE: A new approach to disease-modifying drug trials in Parkinson’s disease



This study was funded by Cure Parkinson’s Trust. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, etc.Journal of Clinical Investigation