About Australian Parkinson's Mission
The Parkinson's Mission program
- We will enrol patients at all stages of Parkinson’s in accordance with eligibility criteria.
- Initially three repurposed drugs will be tested through clinical trials to assess the potential to change the way Parkinson's progresses.
- People involved in the Australian Parkinson's Mission will undergo whole genome sequencing and analysis to identify the genomic variations contributing to their disease and inform clinicians which patients are most likely to respond to each of the treatments being trialled.
- The findings from our clinical trials will be integrated with analyses of patients’ genomic information and biomarkers – naturally occurring measurable indicators of a disease.
The clinical trial will use potential repurposed drugs for Parkinson’s disease from drugs approved to treat other conditions. These treatments have demonstrated neuroprotective effects in preclinical experiments. By using drugs that have already passed rigorous safety and toxicology trials, the mission aims to cut the time for a potential treatment to move from the laboratory to clinical trials and to the patient.
The benefits have the potential to affect people with Parkinson's and clinicians:
- Determine which drugs are effective to change the progression of the disease for which patients
- Develop screening, prevention and early intervention protocols for individuals at high risk of Parkinson’s
- Develop blood-based biomarkers to measure the existence and progression of the disease
- Proof of principle for a genomics-based precision medicine framework
- Better classification of Parkinson’s subtypes based on their DNA
There is also the potential for significant savings in the health industry.
- Read more about the Parkinson's Mission program (PDF).
- Interested clinicians can also register their interest in the APM.
Parkinson's disease: the facts
- 100,000 Australians live with Parkinson’s.
- 14,000 Australians will be diagnosed with the disease every year.
- Parkinson’s costs the economy $3 billion/year and the healthcare system $600 million/year.
- There is no known cause for this debilitating disease and treatments address only symptoms, not disease progression.
- Without a medical breakthrough the number of Australians with Parkinson’s will double every ~15 years.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms
The characteristic PD tremor can begin in the forearms, hands or fingers, especially when the limb is at rest, but the foot, mouth and chin can also be involved. Over time, PD reduces the ability to move and slows voluntary movements such as standing up or sitting down – also known as bradykinesia.
It also becomes difficult to initiate walking and the gait is marked by shuffling feet, lack of arm swing and head down. Muscle stiffness can limit the range of motion and cause pain while posture may become stooped accompanied by balance problems and more frequent falls.
There are currently no laboratory tests to definitively diagnose Parkinson’s disease and diagnosis is made by neurological examination. Testing can include reflexes, muscle strength and coordination, as well as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and blood tests to rule out the possibility of other diseases.