In addition to different dosage forms of levodopa—the current standard of care for Parkinson disease—emerging trials are also examining alpha-synuclein, an abnormal protein that may be involved in the pathogenesis of the condition.
In addition to different dosage forms of levodopa, which serves as the current standard of care for Parkinson disease, emerging trials are also examining α-synuclein, an abnormal protein that may be involved in the pathogenesis of the condition, said Patty Taddei-Allen, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, BCGP, senior director of Clinical Analytics at Welldyne.
The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®): Hello, I'm Matthew Gavidia. Today on the MJH Life Sciences’ Medical World News, The American Journal of Managed Care® is pleased to welcome Dr Patty Taddei-Allen, senior director of Clinical Analytics at Welldyne.
Great to have you on, Patty, can you just introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about your work?
Allen: Sure! So, hi everyone, my name is Patty Taddei-Allen. I am a pharmacist by training. I oversee all of our different clinical programs and all of the different outcomes research with the different clinical programs at Welldyne for both the PBM and the specialty pharmacy.
AJMC®: Can you discuss the current standard of care for Parkinson disease (PD)? And any notable unmet needs?
Allen: Sure, so the current standard of care for PD really involves medications that address dopamine mostly and either where it's going to mimic dopamine or it's going to increase the levels of dopamine. Levodopa is the most commonly used product.
Unfortunately, for many patients that are on levodopa, eventually, they will develop those motor complications after they've been on it for several years. And some of the most notable complications include the drug wearing off and having an on, off phenomenon.
AJMC®: How do recent advances in therapies for PD differentiate from the current market of available treatments?
Allen: There have been some different dosage forms of levodopa that have come out into the market. There is an inhaled version of levodopa that has been approved for use during the OFF periods, in between the regular oral doses of levodopa/carbidopa.
Since it is inhaled, it doesn't need that carbidopa that is used to help prevent its breakdown. There's also the dopamine agonist apomorphine, which is administered subcutaneously–that is also being used to treat those intermittent OFF episodes,
AJMC®: Delving into therapies targeting alpha-synuclein (α-synuclein), an abnormal protein suggested to have a central role in the pathogenesis of PD, can you speak on updates from ongoing clinical trials and any benefits reported so far?
Allen: Sure. So, as you mentioned, it is thought that α-synuclein is not just a marker of PD, but actually possibly involved in its pathogenesis. And as such, there have been some drug targets that have been developed. In general, these currently are still in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials, and these drug targets that have been developed either help reduce extracellular α-synuclein, or they block the misfolding of the protein, or they block the aggregation of the α-synuclein.
As I mentioned, most of these drugs are either in phase 1 or phase 2. There is one particular trial that is probably the one that's most advanced from Biogen and it's anticipated to be completed sometime next summer. Unfortunately, there haven't been many efficacy results or results from the trials that have been released yet.