Skip to main content

Evaluation of a Specific DAT Inhibitor in Pre-clinical Models of Parkinson's Disease

MLR-1017 is a psychostimulant drug used clinically for a variety of neuropsychiatric and other applications, but has never been tested in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Levodopa is a commonly used drug to treat PD. However, long-term use induces complications such as movement disorders, sleep disturbances (nightmares, nocturnal confusion), and psychosis. We propose that MLR-1017, in combination with levodopa, would reduce the amount of levodopa required for treatment, thereby also reducing side effects such as movement and sleep disorders.

Project Description: 
Pre-clinical models of PD, as well as other Symptoms & Side Effects models, will be used to test the hypothesis that MLR-1017 can reduce the amount of levodopa needed by PD patients to control their PD symptoms and related side effects. Because PD is a multi-symptom disease with deficits in motor, sleep, cognitive, and other systems, we propose to establish a “platform” of models to test the effectiveness of MLR-1017. We will compare the effectiveness of MLR-1017 with and without levodopa against untreated models in normalizing sleep/wake activity, cognitive and motor function, gastrointestinal function, and in improving responsiveness in a model of depression.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease:  
It is proposed that MLR-1017 administered in combination with levodopa may improve PD treatment in multiple ways. During the day, MLR-1017 administration would promote wakefulness and minimize nighttime sleep disturbances. MLR-1017 use may also normalize brain dopamine levels following levodopa administration, allowing lower levodopa doses to be used. MLR-1017 may thereby reduce side-effects of levodopa treatment such as movement disorders and psychological dysfunction. Finally, sydnocarb may be neuroprotective, thus slowing the progression of PD. 

Anticipated Outcome: 
Parkinson’s is a devastating disease waiting for more effective drugs to halt its progression and improve its symptoms. This project will determine if a potent drug used in other neurological disorders will also be useful in PD. Another important aspect of this proposal is the establishment of an efficient and comprehensive pre-clinical evaluation system, including relevant pre-clinical models and imaging endpoints, which can be used to identify additional drugs for treatment of PD.

Final Outcome

The drug MLR-1017 was tested for it’s therapeutic benefit in pre-clinical models of Parkinson’s disease.  MLR-1017 showed both behavioral and biochemical benefit in multiple experiments that modeled Parkinson’s-like symptoms.  These studies also provided a new pre-clinical testing platform for screening other drugs to treat various symptoms of Parkinson’s, including sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal abnormalities, depression, and anxiety. Based on the positive results from this project, MLR-1017 will be further developed along a clinical path toward providing a new therapeutic treatment for Parkinson’s patients.


  • John R. Ciallella, PhD

    Exton, PA United States

  • John A. Gruner, PhD

    Exton, PA United States

  • Heather Hain, PhD

    Exton, PA United States

Discover More Grants

Within the Same Program

Within the Same Funding Year

We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience. By continuing to use this website, you indicate that you have read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.