A vaccine for Parkinson’s Disease?

Last year, the first data was published from a clinical trial evaluating a vaccine for Parkinson’s Disease. While the multi-year study was relatively small, the results could be big for the healthcare industry and millions of people around the world who might someday benefit from the vaccine. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. The disease generally develops over the course of years, although the symptoms and progression can vary greatly between patients.

There are an estimated 1 million people in the U.S. living with Parkinson’s disease and more than 10 million people worldwide.

How would a vaccine for Parkinson’s Disease work?
Parkinson’s Disease is associated with an accumulation of protein deposits (known as Lewy bodies) in the brain. Current vaccine projects involve introducing a molecule that would allow the body to produce its own antibodies against these proteins, resulting in active immunity. The hope is that these antibodies would also cling to existing protein buildups and help break them down–which could serve as the basis of future treatments.

What is in the pipeline?
A Phase I trial of Affitope PD01A, which was developed by AFFiRiS, demonstrated the vaccine candidate’s long-term safety, efficacy, and tolerability. This summer, PD01A  was acquired by AC Immune which said it will immediately launch the clinical development of the optimized formulation into a Phase II study.

Another vaccine candidate, UB312 which was developed by United Neuroscience, an organization that recently merged with COVAXX to form biotech company Vaxxinity, is currently in Phase I trials that are expected to conclude in June 2022.

What does this mean?
Unlike existing drugs for Parkinson’s Disease, these vaccine candidates aim to modify the course of the disease–rather than treat it. If successful, this could usher in a new age of therapies, not to mention impact member health and outcomes.

While these studies are still in their early days, the results are certainly promising. Medical science has so far had little success in slowing the progression of the disease, and a new approach to attacking or even preventing it could lead to a variety of drugs and therapies.

We are looking forward to what comes out next.

This blog was written by Michelle Morales Alvarez, Clinical Support Services Manager at Abarca.

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