An FDA-approved drug for leukemia improved cognition, motor skills and non-motor function in patients with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia in a small phase I clinical trial, report researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) in Washington. In addition, the drug, nilotinib (Tasigna), led to statistically significant and encouraging changes in toxic proteins linked to disease progression (biomarkers).

Complete data will be presented at Neuroscience 2015, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in Chicago on Oct. 17.

Charbel Moussa, MD, PhD, who directs Georgetown’s Laboratory of Dementia and Parkinsonism, conducted the preclinical research that led to the discovery of nilotinib for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

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