Enterin Inc has enrolled the first patient in its Phase 1b DEMET clinical trial investigating the effectiveness, safety and tolerability of small molecule ENT-01 to treat Parkinson’s disease dementia.
Contacts and locations of participating sites can be found here.
Many neurodegenerative disorders involve aggregation of misfolded (harmful) proteins in the brain. Parkinson’s is characterized by a buildup of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain, which forms clumps known as Lewy bodies that damage and kill nerve cells.
In order to form aggregates, these clumps need to stick to the membranes that line the inside of neurons. It is the sticky form of alpha-synuclein protein that causes most of the damage seen in Parkinson’s, more so than if this protein was freely floating within a neuron.
ENT-01 (kenterin) enters neurons from the enteric nervous system (ENS), attaches itself to the nerve cells’ membrane and dislodges Parkinson’s-related alpha-synuclein clumps. By unsticking harmful alpha-synuclein, the investigational treatment reduces the amount of alpha-synuclein aggregates within neurons and, in theory, cellular death.
The enteric nervous system is a network of neurons that independently governs the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Previous studies claim that alpha-synuclein begins accumulating in the ENS and then travels from the gut to the brain, where it is linked to the development and progression of Parkinson’s.
The multicenter, randomized, double-blind DEMET study (NCT03938922) will assess ENT-01’s effectiveness, safety and tolerability in patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease dementia. It expects to enroll 40 participants (aged 30 to 90 years), who will be assigned randomly to receive ENT-01 or a placebo tablet. Both will be taken once a day.
By being taken orally, and because ENT-01 is not absorbed into the bloodstream, the molecule will solely act on the gut’s neurons, changing the communication between the gut and brain.
The trial will be conducted on an outpatient basis and each patient will have to visit the clinic five times. The study’s primary goal is to evaluate if the experimental therapy improves cognition in people with Parkinson’s dementia. Investigators also will assess ENT-01’s effects on attention, social function and frequency and/or severity of hallucinations/delusions.
In two separate Phase 2 clinical trials, NCT03047629 and NCT03781791, ENT-01 has been shown to ease both motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, indicating its potential to change disease progression.