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Tamoxifen Citrate, CAS 54965-24-1, The Cancer Drugs Can Help Parkinson's, Dementia Patients

Tamoxifen Citrate, CAS 54965-24-1, the Cancer Drugs Can Help Parkinson's, Dementia Patients

BRISTOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 10: A real human brain being displayed as part of new exhibition at the @Bristol attraction is seen on March 8, 2011 in Bristol, England. The Real Brain exhibit - which comes with full consent from a anonymous donor and needed full consent from the Human Tissue Authority - is suspended in large tank engraved with a full scale skeleton on one side and a diagram of the central nervous system on the other and is a key feature of the All About Us exhibition opening this week. (Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Cancer drugs, particularly used in the treatment of Leukemia, were found to have palpable, positive effects on patients with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, according to a report by Eureka Alert. Spearheaded by Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) researchers in Washington, the FDA-approved drug, nilotinib (Tasigna® by Novartis) has significantly improved the cognition, motor skills, as well as non-motor function of those who are afflicted with Parkinson's and dementia.

Moreover, Eureka Alerts reports that the changes observed in the body's toxic proteins have been associated with "disease progression."

Georgetown's Laboratory of Dementia and Parkinsonism Director Charbel Moussa, MD, PhD, led the preclinical research that resulted in the discovery of nilotinib for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Moussa partnered with Fernando Pagan, MD, a GUMC associate professor of neurology who directs the Movement Disorders Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

"To my knowledge, this study represents the first time a therapy appears to reverse -- to a greater or lesser degree depending on stage of disease -- cognitive and motor decline in patients with these neurodegenerative disorders," remarks Pagan, as per Eureka Alert. "But it is critical to conduct larger and more comprehensive studies before determining the drug's true impact," he adds.

Eureka Alert notes "testing safety" to be the primary objective of the study. Remarkably, no serious side effects were observed in subjects. Moreover, nilotinib was administered in much smaller doses as compared to the normal daily drug dosage to treat cancer (up to 800 mg).

To add to the optimistic outcomes, both researchers discovered that nilotinib penetrates the blood-brain barrier in "amounts greater than dopamine drugs."

According to WAMU,  the pilot study involved 12 patients that were given small doses of nilotinib. By the end of the six-month trial, they observedthat movement and mental function improved in 11 out of 12 people. Pagan recalls specific results as he goes along - one woman was able to feed herself again, one man was able to stop using a walker, and three previously nonverbal patients began speaking again. The researchers reported the findings last Saturday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago.

A retired professor of social science education at Georgia State University, Alan Hoffman, PhD, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1997. Hoffman has been participating in "several clinical trials" as per Eureka Alert -- however no positive outcomes emerged until he enrolled in Pagan's study.

"Before the nilotinib, I did almost nothing around the house. Now, I empty the garbage, unload the dishwasher, load the washer and the dryer, set the table, even take responsibility for grilling," he notes, as told by Eureka Alert.

Prior to the testing, Hoffman says he fell eight times. During the testing phase, however, there was only one recorded instance of a fall within the six months. Hoffman's speech has also improved along with his thinking.

"My wife says it's life-changing for her and for my children and grandchildren," Hoffman says as per Eureka Alert. "To say that nilotinib has made a change in our lives is a huge understatement," he adds.

The complete research on the benefits of nilotinib will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, "Neuroscience 2015," in Chicago on Oct. 17.

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