Parkinson’s Trial in Madrid Investigates Treating a New Target

A new Parkinson’s disease clinical trial is currently underway in Madrid, Spain.

Led by José Obeso, MD, the double-blind trial will investigate the safety and efficacy of using Insightec’s Exablate Neuro focused ultrasound device to treat the cardinal features of Parkinson’s disease. Unlike previous studies that treated the levodopa-induced dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease by targeting the globus pallidus region of the brain, this trial aims to treat the part of the brain called the subthalamic nucleus. 

Jose ObesoDr. Obeso and his team completed a pilot study in treating the subthalamic nucleus, and promising results were recently published in The Lancet (Martinez et al, Lancet Neurology, January 2018). 

“There are several possible locations in the brain that are believed to be involved with movement disorders,” explains the Foundation’s Chief Medical Officer, Tim Meakem, MD. “The initial work has been positive using focused ultrasound to treat in both areas – the globus pallidus and the subthalamic nucleus. This trial will add to the existing body of evidence as the field investigates all areas to provide the best results with the fewest complications.”

“We have now had quite an experience undertaking thalamotomy with focused ultrasound for patients with severe essential tremor and some patients with tremor predominant Parkinson’s disease,” says Dr. Obeso. “The pilot study mentioned above targeted the subthalamic nucleus because ablation of this nucleus is associated with improvement of all cardinal features of Parkinson’s disease. The results are very good indeed, so far. Focused ultrasound allows us to treat older patients compared with surgery (including deep brain stimulation) and will also likely allow us to treat patients earlier in the evolution [of the disease].”

In all, Dr. Obeso plans to treat 40 patients in a double blind clinical trial, which is being funded jointly by the Foundation and Insightec.

The trial is currently enrolling patients at the Hospital Universitario HM Puerta Del Sur. CINAC in Madrid, Spain. Patients who are interested in learning more should contact Raul Martinez, MD, at +34 912673201 or