University of Cambridge researchers and Addenbrooke's Hospital patients are joining forces to trial a new drug aimed at treating Parkinson's disease.

There are currently no therapeutics to alter the progression of Parkinson's, and researchers are now exploring the link between the disease and inflammation in the brain.

UK charity Cure Parkinson's has granted funding for a clinical trial to investigate the potential of an anti-inflammatory drug called dapansutrile.

The trial is being led by Dr Caroline Williams-Gray, principal research associate at the University of Cambridge and an honorary consultant neurologist at Addenbrooke's, specialising in Parkinson's.

During the trial, 36 people with Parkinson's will be treated with dapansutrile tablets for up to 12 months.

In the early phase, the main aim will be to establish that the drug is safe in Parkinson's patients, and to determine whether it reduces inflammation in the brain.

The work is supported by the Cambridge Clinical Trials Unit and the National Institute for Healthcare and Research (NIHR) Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre.

Parkinson's symptoms include tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement, which can be accompanied by anxiety, sleep disturbance, gut symptoms, cognitive problems and dementia.

Dr Williams-Gray said: "There is a pressing need for a specific treatment, such as dapansutrile, which targets the most relevant aspects of the immune activation pathway in Parkinson’s without causing general immunosuppression and leading to unwanted side effects.

"In this trial, we aim to determine dapansutrile’s safety and tolerability in people with Parkinson’s, and to establish whether the treatment can reduce inflammation in the brain.

"We will also investigate whether this results in a positive effect on clinical symptoms and disease progression."


Dapansutrile is owned by Olatec Therapeutics Inc, which is based in America and Europe, and is developing novel oral inflammation therapeutics to treat a wide range of inflammatory diseases.

Dr Simon Stott, director of research at Cure Parkinson’s said: "Professor Williams-Gray and her clinical team in Cambridge has a great deal of experience researching the role of inflammation in Parkinson’s.

"Cure Parkinson’s was delighted to facilitate this research collaboration between Olatec and Cambridge, and we are excited to be funding this important work."