For Immediate Release
Contact: Susan Preston
At UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
(UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School have found that a new
drug for treating Parkinson's disease improves the quality of life
for patients in early stages of the disease with minimal side effects.
Researchers Report New Drug Helps Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease
The study, conducted at 32 sites nationwide and in Canada, showed
that patients who received rasagiline showed improved motor and
cognitive skills and were less impaired in their ability to perform
daily living tasks. The research is published in the December
issue of the Archives of Neurology.
Dr. Lawrence I. Golbe, professor and acting chairman of the
Department of Neurology at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School,
said the results of the Parkinson's Study Group (PSG) study were
important, "because they indicate rasagiline is safe and well
tolerated. This now gives us a useful new treatment option for
patients in the early stages of the disease." Dr. Golbe led the
study at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
The drug, a selective irreversible second-generation inhibitor
of the enzyme monoamine oxidase type B, was tested as a single
treatment for patients with mild Parkinson's disease and who required
no other medication.
Four hundred and four patients participated in the multi-site
study. Prior to its start, each patient was required to fill out
a questionnaire assessing symptoms and quality of life and also
to undergo a neurological examination. Each patient was given
either one or two milligrams a day of rasagiline or a placebo
for six months.
The principal measure used in the study to assess motor and
cognitive skills was the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale
(UPDRS). Each treatment group started the trial with an average
UPDRS score of 25 points. Over the first month of the study, patients
on one milligram of rasagiline improved by an average of one point
and by the end of the study had worsened by one-tenth of a point.
Patients on the placebo showed no measurable change by the end
of the first month and by six months had worsened by 3.9 points.
Dr. Golbe and his team are now part of a second project project
evaluating the effects of rasagiline on patients with more advanced
Parkinson's disease. The study is sponsored by Teva Neuroscience,
a pharmaceutical company based in Israel.
The Department of Neurology at UMDNJ-RWJMS is nationally known
for its research programs investigating the cause and treatment
of Parkinson's disease. It led the effort that resulted in the
identification in 1997 of the first genetic abnormality known
to cause PD. Scientists there also performed pioneering work on
the mode of action of drugs of the class to which rasagiline belongs.
As one of the nation's leading comprehensive medical schools,
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to the pursuit
of excellence in education, research, health care delivery and
the promotion of community health for the residents of New Jersey.
The school maintains educational programs at the undergraduate,
graduate and postgraduate levels, as well as continuing education
courses for health care professionals and community education
programs. The medical school encompasses 21 basic science and
clinical departments and also integrates diverse clinical programs
conducted at its 37 hospital affiliates and numerous ambulatory
care sites in the region. The major institutes affiliated with
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School are The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Cardiovascular Institute, the Child Health
Institute of New Jersey, the Center for Advanced Biotechnology
and Medicine, and the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey comprises
the state's only three medical schools, its only dental school,
a graduate school of biomedical sciences, school of health related
professions, school of nursing and a school of public health on
campuses in Newark, Piscataway/New Brunswick, Scotch Plains, Camden
and Stratford. UMDNJ also operates UMDNJ-University Hospital in
Newark and University Behavioral HealthCare. It is affiliated
with more than 200 health care and educational institutions throughout