Hershey, Pa. --- A multi-center clinical research trial is underway to test a new drug to treat diabetic neuropathy, a common complication of diabetes that impairs nerve function in the lower extremities and can lead to foot ulcers and sometimes amputation.
The drug is known as PN401 and was developed by Pro-Neuron Inc. of Gaithersburg, MD.
" Nerves conduct electrical signals to the arms and legs. When this doesn't work properly, it is called neuropathy. This drug shows great promise to improve nerve conduction for patients with diabetic neuropathy," says Zachary Simmons, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Penn State's College of Medicine.
Simmons is also a physician with the Penn State Geisinger Health System, and the director of the neuromuscular program at the Hershey Medical Center, which is one of five study sites throughout the country that are currently enrolling patients.
"Currently there is not treatment for diabetic neuropathy. We can only treat the diabetes which, at best, will stabilize the neuropathy," says Simmons. "Right now we only give patients medication for pain. This drug specifically may work to treat the neuropathy. We have great hope since about 70 percent of the eight million diabetics in the United States are affected by neuropathy."
Although the exact cause of diabetic neuropathy is unknown, excessive glucose levels can, over time, decrease nerve function. The condition results in pain, numbness and sometimes weakness in the lower extremities, and to a lesser degree in the hands and arms.
Simmons, as well as other physicians involved in the trial, are looking
for patients to enroll in the study. To be considered for the trial, patients
should have had diabetes for at least five years. The diabetes must be
fairly well controlled, and patients should have no other health problems.
Also, patients should have only mild to mode
Contact: Leilyn Perri