Clinical trial tests Parkinson's therapy

The Nebraska Neuroscience Alliance at UNMC embarked on a translational clinical trial in 2013 using Leukine, a drug used to boost the immune system in cancer patients, to test a unique immune therapy in people with Parkinson's disease.

The NNA unites three of UNMC's top neuroscience programs -- the departments of neurological sciences and pharmacology and experimental neuroscience, as well as the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

Howard Gendelman, MD shares research findings

Video: Howard Gendelman, MD, discusses the study here.

"The project is a collaboration between neurologists and neuroscientists," said Howard Gendelman, MD, principal investigator and chair of the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience.

Specifically , "the study will determine whether the drug Leukine can transform the immune system in Parkinson's disease from one that causes harm to the brain to one that protects it, elicits nerve cell repair and ultimately affects disease symptoms," said R. Lee Mosley, PhD, a co-principal investigator and associate professor in pharmacology and experimental neuroscience.

In a year-long, double-blind clinical trial that began in Fall 2013, 16 patients are being monitored using magnetoencephalography (MEG) imaging to pinpoint those areas of the brain affected by the disease and determine if Leukine works.