The Georgetown team says they saw some physical evidence the drug was working. Levels of the alpha synuclein, amyloid beta and tau proteins that gum up brain cells fell measurably in the spinal fluid.
And Moussa hopes that, as with so many treatments, it will work better in people who haven’t been sick for as long, before permanent damage is done.
The drug’s not cheap. It costs $9,000- $10,000 for a supply of 28 pills. It has side-effects, including headache, tiredness, nausea and sometime heart rhythm irregularities.
The benefit is that it’s already approved and on the market. And other drugs that have the same mechanism of action as nilotinib may also help.
“We suspect that there will be many more anti-cancer and other FDA-approved drugs that may be candidates for repurposing to Parkinson’s disease populations,” Okun said.