Researchers at Seelos Therapeutics are planning an animal study to evaluate SLS-007, a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. According to an article from Parkinson’s News Today, this study is possible after positive results from in vitro studies.
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is characterized by its effect on movement through five different stages. As the disease progresses, severity increases.
- Stage one is characterized by subtle tremors on one side of the body.
- In stage two symptoms are more noticeable, with tremors and rigidity on both sides of the body.
- Stage three brings loss of balance and slow movement.
- Stage four makes it impossible for one to live independently.
- Stage five is the most severe, as patients cannot stand or walk. Hallucinations and delusions are common symptoms of this stage.
Parkinson’s disease occurs due to the death of motor neurons, some of which produce dopamine. Dopamine is important in the transmittance of messages to the muscles from the brain, so the loss of dopamine results in the loss of motor functions. Abnormal brain activity occurs when these neurons are lost. Doctors do not know why these motor neurons die, but they do suspect a few factors that play a role, such as genetics, environmental factors like toxins, and Lewy bodies.
SLS-007 was originally created by researchers at UCLA. It is a family of molecules that are known as peptide blockers, and it works to block the aggregation of alpha-synuclein proteins. These proteins play a major role in the formation of Lewy bodies, which are toxic clusters in the brain. Medical professionals believe that these clusters underly the progression of Parkinson’s.
This therapy has already been studied in vitro, meaning that it was evaluated outside of a live animal. The study proved that SLS-007 was able to slow the formation of Lewy bodies, therefore slowing the progression of the disease itself.
It is this data that has encouraged researchers to move onto animal models. Using a harmless virus to deliver SLS-007, researchers will study its effects on a transgenic mouse model. Parts of the treatment have been tagged to allow the team to follow its effects. The hope is that it will be able to protect dopaminergic neurons. Researchers will also evaluate pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and target engagement.
Hopefully these results are positive, which will allow SLS-007 to be further developed for human trials. As Parkinson’s patients face a lack of treatments, this therapy may provide a viable option.