Monday, February 2, 2015

Parkinson's Research Will Find A Cure

  •                         Living Proof

Linda and I watched a wonderful dvd movie from our library called Living Proof (http://blog.nola.com/davewalker/2008/06/harry_connick_blog_take_w_audi.html) about Dr. Denny Slamon (played by Harry Connick, Jr.), a real life UCLA cancer researcher.  Dr. Slamon's amazing commitment and persistence against all odds resulted in a revolutionary drug called Herceptin that has saved the lives of thousands of women with breast cancer.  His story is extremely inspirational and a source of hope for patients with life-threatening diseases.

But how frustrating it was to witness what Dr. Slamon had to go through to get support for his drug, pay for clinical trials, and, finally (after many years during which lives were tragically lost that could have been saved).  This reminded me that PWPs have to do everything we can to support the research process at EVERY stage, including the political work that lays the groundwork for the actual research (a BIG thank you goes to all PAN members!) and financial support to speed new drugs to market (thanks of all organizations who contribute, particularly the Michael J. Fox Foundation), as well as the actual research!


I am excited about and have registered to investigate participation in phase 2 research being planned by Dr. Charbel Moussa at Georgetown University to study the effects of a drug (nilotinib) used to treat leukemia patients . Preliminary research using animal models has shown that this drug "provides a novel strategy in treating neurodegenerative diseases that feature abnormal buildup of such proteins involved in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, Huntington disease and Lewy body dementia, among others." (http://www.georgetown.edu/news/cancer-drug-parkinsons-study.html)


Linda read an article in a magazine inserted into the Sunday Denver Post about this study the day after we watched Living Proof, made the connection, and showed it to me.  I googled information about it and emailed Dr. Moussa.  He replied the next day, telling me I could register to participate, which I did.  If you watch the movie, you will see that a variety of people learned about the Herceptin trials in ways that defy explanation.  Some of those initial participants went on to have their conditions improved, sometimes substantially, and at least one experienced total remission of her cancer.


I am daring to hope that I might be included in this study.  If so, I might benefit with regard to PD and/or mild cognitive impairment and/or help develop treatments that will make a difference in the lives of others.  Hope is a good thing.

Update: It appears that I do not meet one of the inclusion requirements (https://foxtrialfinder.michaeljfox.org/trial/3974/)

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