Disease-modifying approaches for Parkinson disease

Simon JG Lewis
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01135
Published online: 9 April 2018

While a cure might be far off, concerted efforts targeting disease modification are ramping up

We need to find a cure for a disease for which we do not know the cause, have no diagnostic test, and strongly suspect is multifactorial, leading to significant heterogeneity. Two hundred years after its initial description, this is precisely where we find ourselves with Parkinson disease. By the time a patient is first diagnosed, there has been significant cell death and, as such, it seems likely that at best any disease-modifying therapy will arrest or, more likely, only slow continued cell death. While data from the recent phase 2 study repurposing the diabetes treatment exenatide offer hope,1 the field has previously been disappointed by a catalogue of trials that have failed to translate into clinical practice. While clearly too brief, it is hoped that this article will provide the reader with some appreciation of this rapidly expanding topic.

  • Simon JG Lewis

  • Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW



Simon Lewis is part of the ForeFront project team and is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Research Council (ARC) Dementia Research Development Fellowship (no. 1110414). ForeFront is a large collaborative research group dedicated to the study of neurodegenerative diseases and is funded by grants from the NHMRC (no. 1037746), Dementia Research Team (no. 1095127), NeuroSleep Centre of Research Excellence (no. 1060992), ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Memory Program (CE110001021) and the Sydney Research Excellence Initiative 2020.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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