Old wines in new bottles: Repurposing opportunities for Parkinson's disease

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Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic progressive neurological disorder characterized by accumulation of Lewy bodies and profound loss of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons. PD symptomatology is now recognized to include both cardinal motor as well as clinically significant non-motor symptoms. Despite intensive research, the current understanding of molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in PD is limited and has hampered the development of novel symptomatic and disease modifying therapies. The currently available treatment options are only partially or transiently effective and fail to restore the lost dopaminergic neurons or retard disease progression. Given the escalating drug development costs, lengthening timelines and declining R&D efficiency, industry and academia are increasingly focusing on ways to repurpose existing molecules as an accelerated route for drug discovery. The field of PD therapeutics is witnessing vigorous repurposing activity supported by big data analytics, computational models, and high-throughput drug screening systems. Here we review the mechanisms, efficacy, and safety of several emerging drugs currently aspiring to be repositioned for PD pharmacotherapy.

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