Nov 12 2013
A recent study, led by Ryan P. Duncan of Washington University at St. Louis, suggested patients with Parkinson's disease who suffer from freezing episodes are more likely to have impaired balance than those who do not. This is an important discovery as Parkinson's disease typically develops in elderly patients, who cannot afford to be unstable, lose balance and potentially fall, which could result in major injuries. This study stresses the importance of studying freezing episodes, the limitations they present and the need for other rescue therapy options.
While FDA-approved apomorphine is a proven rescue therapy that can release patients from their frozen states, it is currently available only in an injectable form, which can pose a painful inconvenience for patients. Therefore, in addition to the risks associated with impaired balance, some Parkinson's patients can suffer the additional stress of administering an injection to rescue themselves from these freezing episodes.
Toronto-based Cynapsus Therapeutics is dedicated to making a change for these patients. The company is developing a sublingual thin-film strip reformulation of apomorphine, called APL-130277. Think of a simple Listerine® strip type method.
The potential benefits of APL-130277 are being studied in late stage human studies. Eliminating the injection could potentially provide patients with a pain-free way to administer this much-needed rescue therapy. APL-130277 could require less than one and half minutes to dissolve under the tongue, delivering the drug in a timely and effective manner. Furthermore, the unique design of APL-130277 could potentially eliminate any irritation, one of the significant problems associated with the injection.
Cynapsus Therapeutics was awarded a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for their work on Parkinson's disease and freezing episodes, which they are using for further research and the development of APL-130277. If APL-130277 proves successful, it could revolutionize the delivery of apomorphine to patients with Parkinson's disease who experience freezing episodes.
The hope is that a new, injection-free option for rescue therapy could address some of the unmet needs of Parkinson's patients who experience freezing episodes. The recent study of impaired balance sheds light on freezing episodes and could inspire further research, and help prompt more discussions, both in and outside the medical community, about freezing episodes and the lifestyles of patients who experience them.