Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia all share certain key traits. Now, it seems, we might add leukemia to that list too.
NPR reports that nilotinib, a medication long used to treat leukemia, may confer significant health benefits for seniors diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or Lewy body dementia as well.
Lewy body is one of the most common kinds of dementia, second only to Alzheimer’s, and in fact, the two are often confused in their early stages. It isn’t uncommon for doctors to misdiagnose Lewy body, given that the symptoms may mirror that of other neural disorders like Parkinson’s.
But in patients treated with nilotinib, those symptoms show remarkable improvement.
“After 25 years in Parkinson’s disease research, this is the most excited I’ve ever been,” Fernando Pagan told NPR. Pagan directs the Movement Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical Center.
For Parkinson’s patients, this is a rare breath of fresh air. Good news has been much more common on the dementia front.
Indeed, every week seems to bring a significant new advancement in our understanding of — and treatment for — dementia, a condition that not long ago was considered entirely untreatable.
Of course, we still haven’t managed to turn the tide on dementia altogether, and those who are diagnosed with the crippling disorder continue to face real medical and financial hardship. But good news is always welcome, and there seems to be plenty of it lately.