A new creative campaign has been launched today for World Parkinson’s Day to help raise funds for a new clinical trial to explore the effectiveness of repurposing drugs used for other illnesses to slow, stop and/or reverse the effects of the neurodegenerative disease that impacts more than 80,000 Australians.
The Shake It Up Australia Foundation’s Pause 4 Parkinson’s campaign, running nationally across on oOh!media’s digital network, urges Australians to support those with Parkinson’s by illustrating the extent of the disease and challenges those with it face.
The campaign highlights that in addition to uncontrollable tremors other symptoms of Parkinson’s include slow movement, balance problems and memory loss. It follows from an earlier advertising campaign run by oOh! since mid-March to raise awareness of Shake It Up Australia’s fundraising campaign for a disease which is diagnosed among Australian’s every 45 minutes, one in five of whom are under 50.
Shake It Up Australia Founder Clyde Campbell, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at 44 years of age, said he was confident the campaign would help attract additional funding required for clinical trials in Australia to test the effectiveness of six or more existing drugs on Parkinson’s.
“Over the past few years we have been collaborating with Cure Parkinson’s UK, the Michael J Fox Foundation, the Van Andel Institute and The Garvan Institute to progress this unique initiative called the Linked Clinical Trials program (LCT),” Mr Campbell said.
“To date, the LCT has convened a committee made up of the world’s leading basic science and clinical experts in Parkinson’s disease, which has assessed more than 70 potential ‘disease modifying’ treatments to slow or stop-long term decline in Parkinson’s.
“Cure Parkinson’s UK has just started evaluating eight drugs in a trial in Europe, and we are hoping to be able to fund local research of at least six of the additional 16 commercially available drugs that have been shortlisted for trial.
“This trial could mean that drugs with the potential to slow, stop or reverse Parkinson’s could be in the market within years, instead of up to 15 years for the development of new drugs.”
Already as part of the LCT project, the Shake It Up Foundation has one study underway led by Associate Professor John O’Sullivan at The University of Queensland in collaboration with The Wesley Research Institute, Griffith University and the Parkinson’s UK Trust.
It has also appointed a second research team headed up by Professor Simon Lewis at the Brain & Mind Institute, Sydney University to recruit 480 patients with established PD into a Phase II, multi-centre, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to evaluate the potential for four repurposed drugs to slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
This follows a number of earlier clinical trials into repurposing agents for Parkinson’s, one of which is expanding after positive signs from a smaller trial. The UK based study, published in The Lancet in 2017, demonstrated the potential of an existing diabetes treatment to slow disease progression in Parkinson’s.
oOh! CEO, Brendon Cook, said on hearing of the funding need to enable the Shake It Up Australia Foundation to undertake more clinical trials, the company immediately agreed to invest in the campaign through its oOh! Community program.
“In addition to displaying advertising to generate awareness, we also had our inhouse creative team develop content that would help create a new level of engagement with the community by highlighting that Parkinson’s is more than just the shakes.
“Most people associate Parkinson’s with the tremor, but there are many other symptoms.
“Every person with Parkinson’s has a different combination of symptoms which makes it hard to diagnose. The creative developed helps tell that story and give a compelling reason why Australians should get behind and support Shake It Up Australia Foundation.”
The oOh! Community program provides a valuable service to organisations focused on delivering solutions to societal issues, by providing its media assets and creative and content services teams to connect with the community.
For more information, to get involved or to donate, visit www.shakeitup.org.au/pause4parkinsons
Download the press release here.