University to help with study of cancer drug's effect on Parkinson's patients

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -- The University of Iowa will help determine whether a cancer drug could be a new treatment for Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers with the university said they will be analyzing data from clinical trials. The study is focused on the cancer drug Nylotinib. Initial studies found the drug could slow or even reverse the effects of Parkinson's, particularly with memory and other cognitive functions. Researchers will conduct two trials over the next year and a half.

University of Iowa data teams will look for the effect it has on patients at different ages and dosages. Eventually, it could lead to prescribing the drug to Parkinson's patients. One Riverside, Iowa woman has been battling Parkinson's for 13 years. She said she's anxious to see what the studies find.

"Well, I certainly want to see how it works. I'm curious to see how they identify which groups of people get to take it. Is there an age restriction if you're too young or too old?" said Virginia Stutsman, a Parkinson's patient from Riverside.

It could be a couple years until we have results from the study. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is funding the research project. The actor from Back to the Future started the foundation after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The Fox Foundation started a partnership with the University of Iowa on Parkinson's research back in 2009.

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