Blogging with Parkinson's

A personal perspective on Young Onset Parkinson's

Parkinson’s to be Cowed by Vaccine?


MooCan you vaccinate against Parkinson’s? Who would such a treatment benefit?

My rather simplistic view of vaccines (based in part on school history projects on Edward Jenner’s use of Cow Pox to prevent Small Pox) is that you give a vaccine (the Latin for “cow” is “vacca”) as a preventative measure, to people who don’t already have the nasty disease. The vaccine is usually something similar to the microorganism that causes the nasty disease (often, these days, a weakened version of the real thing). The vaccine is weak enough for the immune system to fight off, and, in doing so, the immune system is prepared for fighting off the full-blown disease.

Currently undergoing initial human trials is a new drug that, apparently, primes the immune system to destroy alpha-synuclein. The human guinea pigs are 32 individuals with Parkinson’s, ten of whom have already received the treatment.

So… they’re not trying to prevent Parkinson’s in people deemed to be at risk (I am not sure that there are any strong risk indicators, although some forms of the condition may be genetic). They are trying to prevent the condition from getting worse – from progressing.

I’d settle for that.

Perhaps I ought to revise my idea of what a vaccine is. It could, I suppose, be defined as “something that encourages the immune system to attack a specific target”.

The drug is called PD01A, and it has been developed by an Austrian company called AFFiRiS. It is worthy of note, because older treatments for Parkinson’s are all symptomatic – that is, they treat the symptoms of the condition, not the cause. If this works, regardless of whether it’s called a vaccine or what the definition of “vaccine” is, it will be a huge breakthrough. Of course, we don’t know anything about side effects (New Scientist reports that, “The objective [of these initial trials] is to ensure the vaccine is safe”), but anything that stops Parkinson’s in its tracks would be incredibly valuable.



An antigenic substance prepared from the causative agent of a disease or a synthetic substitute, used to provide immunity against one or several diseases


7 thoughts on “Parkinson’s to be Cowed by Vaccine?

  1. Let’s hope it can do that, it would be a fantastic treatment if it works.

  2. I want to be vaccinated ! I would be so relieved to not get any worse, to be able to keep my mind! So when do you suppose there would be any results known?

  3. So do I, Jeanie! As to results – I have no idea, but this round is largely to prove that it’s safe. Really early days, I think.

  4. oh it just seems that you should know I am the patient of the man who is conducting these trials. I was, unfortunately, not selected for this initial group of Parkinsons patients for the phase 1 clinical trials. I have learned by reading all the articles in all the different german websites that there are eight individuals who don’t receive the treatment, as a blind study, they don’t know it.t to if treatment

  5. So, that means two full years without any symptomatic help from another drug for the poor souls among the eight. They are our true heroes I’d say! I can tell you this, according to inside rumors, it works. But it takes a long time to make sure that it’s very safe. We don’t want to experience a brain infection because of a possible side kick, do we!

  6. I will come back to keep you POSTED, when there’s any developments.

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