Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital are seeking recently diagnosed Parkinson's disease (PD) patients to participate in a clinical trial investigating whether inosine taken to raise the body’s level of urate -- a naturally occurring antioxidant -- can be used to slow the progress of PD. To qualify for the trial, participants must have been diagnosed within the last three years, and not currently require medication for PD.
The SURE-PD (Safety of Urate Elevation in Parkinson's Disease) clinical trial is based on the results of several studies suggesting that higher urate levels may reduce the risk of PD or slow its progression. Two recent studies from a team based at MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease (MGH-MIND) and Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found that symptoms progressed more slowly in recently diagnosed patients with naturally higher blood levels of urate and that serial brain scans of participants provided evidence that those with higher urate levels lost fewer dopamine-producing neurons.
Michael Schwarzschild, MD, PhD, of MGH-MIND, national principal investigator of SURE-PD, says, "An unusual convergence of laboratory and human data has provided evidence suggesting that higher urate may slow progression of the disease, which led to our rapid development of the SURE-PD trial to investigate the potential of a urate-elevating strategy in people with Parkinson’s." Schwarzschild also cautions that elevating the body’s urate levels should only be attempted in the setting of a well designed clinical study in which potential benefits and risks can be carefully balanced.
With the support of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, MGH-MIND and HSPH are partnering with Parkinson Study Group doctors in 17 locations across 14 states for a phase 2 clinical trial. In addition to Boston, study sites are located in California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island and Texas.
Massachusetts General Hospital, established in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $600 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.