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Fighting Parkinson's Disease

1.5 million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease affects as many as 1.5 million people in the United States, with about 60,000 additional patients newly diagnosed each year. The cost to the U.S. economy in direct and indirect expenses is more than $14 billion a year, according to a recent study published in Movement Disorders.



America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are currently developing 37 new medicines to help patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a chronic, progressive neurological disease. Considered a motor system disorder—resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells—symptoms include tremor, rigidity and instability and non-motor symptoms such as cognitive changes, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and sleep disruptions, among others.

All of the potential medicines are either in clinical trials or awaiting review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Research into new, effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease has proven to be difficult, most likely because what actually causes the dopamine-producing cells to die off is not known. While most cases of Parkinson’s disease happen spontaneously, some are believed to be hereditary.

The exciting news is that recent advances and discoveries in science, including the identification of genes specific to Parkinson’s, have sparked research and development into new treatment approaches. The medicines in the R&D pipeline today offer hope of reducing the human and economic costs of Parkinson’s disease.

37 New Medicines in Development

Parkinson’s disease affects as many as 1.5 million people in the United States, with about 60,000 additional patients newly diagnosed each year. The cost to the U.S. economy in direct and indirect expenses is more than $14 billion a year, according to a recent study published in Movement Disorders.

View the Full Medicines in Development Report

From Researcher to Patient Advocate

Sue Dubman is an inspirational leader who is impacting multiple precompetitive and advocacy initiatives for Parkinson's disease. Learn how her extensive knowledge and expertise in drug development and informatics is impactful during the era of big data, yet her strength is conveying the sense of urgency the and critical importance of collaborations to enable a path for effective treatments to improve the lives of those living with PD.

5-10%



Five to 10 percent of Parkinson’s patients are considered “early-onset,” receiving a diagnosis as early as 50 years old or younger. The average age of onset of the disease is 60, with incidence increasing significantly with age. 

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Join the Conversation on Parkinson's

Conversations brings in the best and brightest minds to lend their unique ideas and perspectives and has thus far brought multi-stakeholder engagement throughout the health care community. Recently, we asked our Conversations contributors the following:

What is the greatest issue facing Parkinson’s patients today, and what can be done to accelerate the research and development of new therapies to help them?"

View the full Conversation surrounding Parkinson's disease and learn what leading experts had to say on the subject.

60,000 Patients

60,000 patients are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. The disease affects about 50 percent more men than women.

“Biopharmaceutical scientists are applying the latest knowledge and technologies to help solve the puzzle of Parkinson’s,” said PhRMA President and CEO John J. Castellani regarding the release of the most recent Parkinson's Medicines in Development report. “The nearly 40 medicines in development today offer great hope that together we can ease the tremendous burden of Parkinson’s on patients, public health and economies around the world.”

Learn Key Facts About Parkinson's

Medicines in the Pipeline

Current medicines for Parkinson’s disease are approved to treat the symptoms of the disease, such as mobility problems and tremors, but do not replace lost nerve cells or halt the progression of the disease itself. The loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain is an underlying issue in Parkinson’s disease. Several medicines in development are disease-modifying therapies focused on protecting brain cells in an attempt to halt disease progression, or treatments aimed at generating new cells or repairing damaged nerve cells.

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Related Medicines

  • Gene Therapy

    A gene therapy in development comprises an adenoassociated virus (AAV) vector that delivers the gene for aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) to cells in a part of the brain that controls movement.

  • First-in-class Medicine

    A potential first-in-class medicine targets a receptor found in the basal ganglia of the brain, where degeneration and abnormality are often seen in Parkinson’s disease.

  • Gel Formation

    An intraduodenal gel formation in development is a combination of levodopa and carbidopa, which helps prevent levodopa from being degraded before it reaches the brain.

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