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Horizon 2020 grant supports trials of a new Renishaw drug delivery system in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

04 January 2017

Renishaw's novel drug delivery system, to be used in partnership with Herantis Pharma Plc's drug candidate CDNF for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, is about to enter phase 1-2 clinical trials. The study will be supported by a €6 million grant from Horizon 2020, the European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's are notoriously difficult to target with medication due to the protective role of the blood-brain barrier. Working in partnership with leading neurosurgeons, Renishaw has developed an innovative system which bypasses the blood-brain barrier, delivering pharmaceuticals directly into the brain tissue. The 18 patients taking part in the trial will have a small port implanted into the skull close to the ear. This will allow clinicians to deliver CDNF to target areas through 4 tubes that will be carefully placed into the patients' brains.

Renishaw is one of eleven partners who will be working together to execute the clinical trials. The drug, Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor (CDNF), aims to relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's by protecting and regenerating dopamine producing neurons.

Paul Skinner, Operations Manager for Renishaw's Neurological Products Division, said, “We are very pleased to be able to contribute our engineering technology and experience to this important trial. Our drug delivery system has shown promising initial results and we look forward to working closely with Herantis and the other partners to achieve the best possible outcomes for the patients.”

Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disease, caused by the break-down of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. Symptoms include involuntary shaking, stiffness of muscles and slowing down of movement, which can be extremely debilitating. In addition, patients can suffer associated non-motor symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, memory loss, anxiety and depression. Whilst these symptoms can initially be managed with medication, there is currently no treatment available that effectively prevents disease progression, or that treats the motor and non-motor symptoms together. Developers hope that CDNF, delivered directly into the brain with Renishaw's system, might address that gap.

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