The Parkinsons Institute will participate in a large-scale national clinical trial to learn if the nutritional supplement creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease (PD). While creatine is not an approved therapy for PD or any other condition, it is widely thought to improve exercise performance. The potential benefit of creatine for PD was identified by Parkinsons researchers through a new rapid method for screening potential compounds. The trial, which begins today, is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III study is one of the largest PD clinical trials to date. The Parkinsons Institute is one of 51 medical centers in the United States and Canada that will be recruiting patients as part of an effort to enroll 1720 people with early-stage PD.
"This study is an important step. We are pleased to have so many sites participating in this study, which may help us move more quickly toward developing a therapy that could change the course of this devastating disease," says Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., director of the NIH. "The goal is to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson's for a longer period of time than is possible with existing therapies." Currently there is no treatment that has been shown to slow the progression of PD.
The trial is the first large study in a series of NIH-sponsored clinical trials called NET-PD (NIH Exploratory Trials in Parkinson's Disease). The Parkinsons Institute has been affiliated with the program since 2002. The NIH has organized this large network of sites to allow researchers to work with PD patients over a long period of time, with a goal of finding effective and lasting treatments. NET-PD builds on a developmental research process from laboratory research to pilot studies in a select group of patients to the definitive phase III trial of effectiveness in people with PD.