A pill usually prescribed to treat leukemia has had dramatic effects in a few patients with Parkinson's disease, doctors reported Saturday.
Tasigna, also known by its generic name nilotinib, is used to fight chronic myelogenous leukemia, NBC News reported. High doses kill leukemia cells.
Doctors hoped it might stop the steady and unstoppable progression of Parkinson's, but it also appears to have reversed some of the worst symptoms in 10 of the 12 patients who tried it.
The researchers think lower doses will help damaged brain cells get rid of toxic trash that keeps them from functioning properly.
Dr. Charbel Moussa, who directs Georgetown's Laboratory of Dementia and Parkinsonism, has been testing cancer drugs against several different neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.