Iranian Scientists Developed Domestic Drug for Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson"s disease is a public health problem around the world. It is a chronic progressive disorder of the central nervous system that is more common in the elderly population (1% in their 60s, 5% in their 80s). It is known that the disease is caused by the progressive death of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the basal ganglia of the brain, which results in an imbalance of dopamine and acetylcholine in the brain. The main symptoms are muscle stiffness, tremor, slowness of movements, and at the extreme, loss of physical movement.
Levodopa is an effective drug and one of the standard therapies for Parkinson"s disease. Levodopa, an edible analog amino acid, can easily pass the blood brain barrier where it is then converted to dopamine. Most of the L-DOPA is either extracted from biological sources or is chemically synthesized. Amongst the biological sources for this reason are enzymatic synthesis, fungal resources, bacterial resources and plants.
Leguminosae family is one of the largest plant families in the world and one of the main compounds of this family member is, as you might guess, Levodopa. This species of plants abounds in Iran, hence yielding a great opportunity for Iranian scientists to develop due domestic pharmaceutical products to help delay the progression of Parkinson"s disease.
In an INSF-supported research, scientists from Tehran University of Medical Sciences have seized this opportunity. As to one of the scientists of the team, there has not been sufficient evidence on the detection and quantification of dopamine and l-DOPA in legume family. Thus, the first phase of their research included screening the selected plants from the Leguminosae family and Phaseolus species in order to achieve plant resources containing levodopa. In this research, Levodopa has been extracted from the plant seeds and then evaluated by TLC, HPLC and spectrophotometric techniques. Considering the restrictions on the use of plants as natural resources for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients, one of the most effective strategies in mass production of active pharmaceutical ingredients is a plant tissue and texture techniques which is beneficial in that, in addition to overcoming the limitations, we can increase the amount of metabolites through chemical and physical methods.
The INSF-supported researchers have succeeded in extracting the compounds and developing a formula to produce the domestic levodopa –based drug. This drug has gained the respective licenses from Food and Drug Administration (FAO) and is now in the commercializing stages.