What’s New in Parkinson’s: December 2020

Tomatoes and levodopa

From tomatoes to live-streaming brain activity to genetic testing studies, news from the Parkinson’s field is as varied as it is encouraging this month. Here are some of the most important articles, podcasts, research, and living well stories happening as we wrap up 2020. Let us know if we missed anything important. Happy reading and happy new year!

PARKINSON’S ARTICLES AND PODCASTS

PARKINSON’S THERAPIES AND MEDICATIONS

  • A tomato could be the future of Parkinson’s gold-standard medication, levodopa. Scientists at the John Innes Centre have produced a genetically modified (GM) tomato enriched with levodopa, which is produced from tyrosine, an amino acid found in many foods. The researchers believe the use of tomatoes as a natural source of levodopa would not only lead to a new and affordable form of the medicine but could also mitigate possible side effects such as nausea and behavioral complications.
  • SpeechVive, a behind-the-ear wearable device that helps people with Parkinson’s speak more loudly and communicate more effectively, was featured at December’s Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the Association of American Universities’ third-annual University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed a clinical hold on the RESTORE-1 clinical trial of NBIb-1817 (VY-AADC),Voyager Therapeutics’ experimental gene therapy trial for people with Parkinson’s. In late December, Neurocrine Biosciences submitted an Investigational New Drug Safety Report, detailing their observation of MRI abnormalities in some of the study participants. Voyager stated that the clinical implications of the observation are currently unknown and are being evaluated.
  • In what they call the largest study ever undertaken that assesses people with Parkinson’s’ use of cannabis, researchers affiliated with the University of Hamburg found that almost 10 percent of the more than 1300 people who responded report using cannabis products to alleviate Parkinson’s-related symptoms. The study, published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, said that respondents were more likely to report benefits from products containing THC than those consisting of CBD only.

PARKINSON’S LIVING WELL STORIES

PARKINSON’S SURVEYS AND CLINICAL TRIALS

Speech and Telemedicine Study – The Purdue Motor Speech Lab

Home Based Tele-exercise Study for People with Chronic Neurological Impairments – Burke Neurological Institute

Parkinson’s and Drooling – European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA)

Parkinson’s and Service Dogs – University of Groningen, Netherlands

Neurology Study Interest Registry – University of Rochester

Park Test – University of Rochester

Project Euphonia – LSVT Global and Project Euphonia

BouNDless – Phase 3 trial to investigate the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ND0612, a continuous subcutaneous levodopa/carbidopa delivery system in comparison to oral levodopa/carbidopa in people with Parkinson’s experiencing motor fluctuations

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