Parkinson's Disease Research

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition, which causes a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain and leads to a loss of dopamine production. The body uses dopamine to help coordinate movement, which is why PD often causes physical symptoms like shaking (tremor), rigidity (dystonia) and difficulty walking. PD also causes non-motor symptoms like sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and/or cognitive issues. PD is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.

There is currently no cure (yet) for Parkinson’s disease. However, current treatments for PD help improve and control symptoms. Each occurrence of PD is different, so it is difficult to determine how your PD will progress. Please ask you doctor for more detail about disease progression.

  • Levodopa: Doctors have been treating PD with Levodopa for the past 50 years. As the brain loses the ability to create and convert dopamine in the brain, symptoms worsen. Lovodopa helps replace the dopamine that is no longer produced because of PD.  Commonly, you will see carbidopa combined with levodopa, to help minimize side effects.

    • Common pill forms include: Sinemet, Rytary, CD/LD

    • Intestinal Infusion: Duodopa


  • Dopamine Agonists: Is often used before the use of Levodopa, to treat motor symptoms of PD; though dopamine agonists can also be used in combination with Levodopa. Dopamin agonists are designed to act like dopamine, stimulating dopamine receptors in the brain.

    • Common pill forms include: Pramapexole, ropinirole Injectables: Apomorphine

    • Patches: Rotigotine


  • Monoamine Oxidanse B (MAOB) Inhibitors: Help to keep dopamine in the brain longer, by blocking enzymes known as MAOB, which break down dopamine in the brain.

    • Common MAOB Inhibitors include: Rasagiline (Azilec) and Selegiline 


  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): Is used to control PD symptoms when oral medications stop working or become significantly less affective. DBS is a surgical prcedure that places electrodes (electrical stimulation to the brain). The electrodes use high frequency stimulation on the parts of the brain that help control PD symptoms. 


  • Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase (COMT) Inhibitors: Help extend the length of time levodopa works in the brain. COMT inhibitors block enzymes that break down levodopa, so the effects of levodopa last longer on control PD symptoms.
    • Common pill form of COMT: Entacapone, Opicapone, and Stalevo

This means you medication (like CD/LD, Rytary etc.) are wearing off and your symptoms are starting to return, like:

  • Tremors, trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • Stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Speech difficulty 

This means it might be time for your next dose, or to talk to your doctor about increasing or changing you dose or medications. Often “off” times occur in the morning, between doses, if you are under stress, or having much physical activity.

When you take your dose of drug and you start to notice your PD symptoms less or stop all together. The effects of your drug regimen may vary. Talk to your doctor about how to maximize the “on” effects of your PD medications. 

Current Studies

Abbvie M15-737: A study comparing the efficacy, safety and tolerability of ABBV-951 to oral carbidopa/levodopa in advanced Parkinson’s Disease patients.

Abbvie M15-736: A Randomized, Double-blind, Double-Dummy, Active-Controlled Study Comparing the Efficacy, Safety and Tolerability of ABBV-951 to Oral Carbidopa/Levodopa in Advanced Parkinson’s Disease Patients

AstraZeneca MEDI1341: A randomized, placebo-controlled study of the safety and tolerability of multiple ascending doses of MEDI1341 in subjects with Parkinson’s Disease.

Biogen SPARK 228PD201 (Parkinson’s Study Group):  A phase 2A study of the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of BIIB054 in people with Parkinson’s Disease who’ve been diagnosed for a maximum of 3 years.

Biogen 254PD101:  A phase 1 single- and multiple-ascending-dose study to assess the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of BIIB094 administered intrathecally to adults with Parkinson’s Disease.

Boston Scientific Neuromodulation Corp A4069: Registry of Deep Brain Stimulation with the VERCISE™ System.

Cerevance CVN424:  A phase 2 randomized trial for Parkinson’s Disease patients with motor fluctuations.

Cerevel CVL 751: A Phase 3, DoubleBlind, Randomized, Placebo‑Controlled, Parallel‑Group, 27‑Week Trial To Evaluate The Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Two Fixed Doses of Tavapadon in Early Parkinson’s Disease (TEMPO-1 Trial)

Roche PADOVA: A Phase IIB, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicenter Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Intravenous Prasinezumab in Participants with Early Parkinson’s Disease.

Takeda TAK-071-2002: A phase 2 study to evaluate oral TAK-071 in Parkinson Disease patients with cognitive impairment and elevated risk of falls.

Sanofi FIDI: A Validation Study to Assess the Validity, Measurement Responsiveness, & Reliability of the Parkinson’s Disease Functional Impacts Digital Instrument (PD-FIDI) in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) with or without Glucocerebrosidase (GBA) Mutations