Our brains are full of immune cells called microglia, which fight infections and clear the brain of toxic products. In Parkinson’s disease, these cells are constantly active, leading to brain inflammation that damages neurons (nerve cells). Evidence of this inflammation is found in the blood and brains of Parkinson’s patients. To fight this damage, we developed small molecules (suitable to be be taken as a pill) that get into the brain, where they stopped brain inflammation in pre-clinical models of the disease. We hope this treatment could halt or even reverse Parkinson’s progression.
There are many different possible causes of Parkinson’s involving age, genetics, diets and lifestyle. Whatever the cause, we think our immune system’s response to produce inflammation in the brain is a key factor that drives Parkinson’s disease, and small molecule drugs that can penetrate the brain and stop this inflammation may be able restore the health of our brain immune cells, so they can get back to ‘cleaning up’ brain toxins.