PARKINSON'S DISEASE NEWS
15th September 2011 - News release
IRON CHELATOR FOR PARKINSON'S DISEASE
A clinical trial is to be carried out with the iron chelator Deferiprone (Ferriprox) in Parkinsonís Disease. The clinical trial is being sponsored by Parkinson's UK. It has been claimed in medical studies that iron accumulates in the brains of people with Parkinson's Disease, and that iron can therefore cause further deterioration. Deferipone is an iron chelator, which is able to remove excess iron from the body. It is consequently being assessed to see if it can reduce an accumulation of iron in the brains of people with Parkinson's Disease. The long term aim of the therapy, if the clinical trial is successful, is to slow down the progression of Parkinsonís disease. As this is a pilot study, the theory at present is completely untested. For more information go to Deferiprone.
There are a number of weaknesses in the theory behind the method used : (1) The claims made in studies that there is an accumulation of iron in Parkinson's Disease are not matched by the details of the results of those studies. When the results are age controlled, most people with Parkinson's Disease have only a mild accumulation of iron or no iron accumulation at all. (2) Iron is absolutely essential for the formation of dopamine, due to it being a cofactor for the formation of L-dopa. A restriction or lowering of iron intake can therefore be seriously counterproductive. (3) When L-dopa formation is low as occurs in Parkinson's Disease, iron, as an essential cofactor for L-dopa formation, can accumulate in order to overcome that deficiency. It is a compensatory mechanism rather than a cause of Parkinson's Disease. (4) If iron accumulation caused Parkinson's Disease, those people with Hereditary Haemochromatosis, which causes an accumulation of iron, would all have Parkinson's Disease. Yet in a study of people with Hereditary Haemochromatosis, none of them had Parkinson's Disease. (5) When iron was used therapeutically in Parkinson's Disease, all of the people tested reduced rather than increased their Parkinson's Disease symptoms. For more current news go to Parkinson's Disease News.
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