Marmosets and research into Parkinson’s Disease

Marmosets and research into Parkinson’s Disease


My name is Geoff Butcher and I’ve had Parkinson’s
disease now for about 13 years. One of the animals most used in research in Parkinson
is Marmosets. We are now going to go into an animal facility and talk to a scientist.
The Marmosets here were all bred in captivity and following treatment they exhibit the symptoms
of Parkinson’s disease. We’ve not shown the scientist because of the small risk he
faces from those opposed to the use of animals in research.
What is it you do here and why are you using Marmosets?
What we are doing is we are looking at Parkinson’s disease. We use a drug called MPTP to create
the Parkinson’s type of lesion. Some drug abusers in California in the 1980’s were
using a synthetic heroin and a number of young adults were turning up at clinics with all
the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The drug users had taken heroin contaminated with
a chemical called MPTP and it was the MPTP that had created the brain damage that led
to the Parkinson like symptoms. The realization that MPTP could cause such specific damage
to the brain has led to it being used as a research tool.
Did those young people recover or were they treated? They had to be treated, they were responsive to L-dopa and they remained in that state.
And what you are hoping to do in the actual research here is what, to develop new drugs?
We are looking to develop new drugs. There are some very good drugs for the treatment
of Parkinson disease but most of them have drawbacks when the patients develop adverse
side effects. As the Parkinson’s disease progresses, people
taking dopamine boosting drugs for a long time can experience distressing side effects.
Some other side effects of drugs for Parkinson’s disease can be compulsive behaviours. Although
only a small number of people experience this, it can leave a devastating impact on the person
affected and on those around them. What sort of symptoms do they show?
They show all the classic symptoms associated with Parkinson disease, they have very reduced
locomotion activity, they tend to have quite rigid posture.
And do they eventually die of it? With the MPTP lesion, it’s not progressive.
This is the major difference to the situation in man. It doesn’t get any worse. Doesn’t
get any worse, no. They actually seem quite happy.
They do. We think that it is a very good model because the animals are actually able to maintain
themselves without any drug treatment. Giving MPTP to Marmosets is classed in law
as a severe procedure. The animals are initially quite sick and have to be nursed by the careers.
They have to be hand fed and groomed but after they recover they are able to live independently
again. So these little guys can actually manage quite
well. They feed, eat and look after themselves but have enough motor deficits for us to be
able to measure the increases when we treat them.
In fact, they don’t suffer anywhere near as much as humans. That’s very true.
You give them some drugs to see or test new compounds to see if…
The animals are very responsive to dopaminergic drugs and this is obviously the main treatment
for Parkinson’s disease. Also we are looking at drugs that can be given in combination
with dopamine agonists or L-dopa to reduce the side effects.
What do you think is going to be the end product of your research, if there is ever an end?
I think we will always continue with improving the therapeutic strategies. There has been
a great concentration on looking at movement but Parkinson disease is a much bigger syndrome
than that. It isn’t just about movement. There are a lot of other symptoms that need
to be addressed. I know some of those and would you go from
these animals to monkeys or from here to humans. If we see good results in the Marmosets this
is a primate model that is sufficient for things to be taken forward into man. Certainly
a lot of the research that we have done in the past, particularly with drugs like COMT
inhibitors Entacapone, Tolcapone, these were almost taking directly into the clinic on
findings that we presented. Then you are straight into small numbers and
humans trials. I will be volunteering. That’s excellent. You have got 1 volunteer. Great. One of the things that was impressive was the cleanliness and the care of the animals in the laboratory. The animals are obviously very happy and content, easily handled, not at all frightened. I hope that they will soon be able to prevent the progression of the
disease and for people like me that would be an enormous encouragement.

19 thoughts on “Marmosets and research into Parkinson’s Disease”

  1. Leading scientists concur that animals can only be afflicted with parkinsonism, not the actual human disease. The one truly effective treatment for Parkinson's disease – Deep Brain Stimulation – was developed by a clinician – animal research had nothing to do with its discovery. How sad for actual human sufferers that so much funding is focused on developing different animal models of the disease while promising, human-based approaches are underfunded.

  2. those same scientists use animals models. because giving parkinsonism to a marmoset is a good MODEL of "the real human disease"

    actually I just can't be be bothered. you'll just repeat the exact same sentences as the weeks turn into months into years into decades without ever talking to anyone outside your own group of self-affirming, reassurig….people.

  3. deep brain stimulation was developed in oxford by tipu aziz. a surgeon as you say. he developed it using (heavily using) rhesus monkeys that he had induced parkinson like symtpoms in. How do you not know that?

  4. still use humans we have more than enough to find a cure and save the lives of animals. Then we would be able to have a real diagnoses then one deprived of real human DNA or other material useful for diagnoses or treatment. Yes fight with me but Im the only one who really sees the real evidence of actual human testing. We do it anyways why not use it more.

  5. I get that you want a better treatment that will make these frightening symptoms go away, but inflicting them upon others isn't the right way to go about it. Regardless of what this research might uncover in the future, can't you see what you're making them go through right now? Understanding Animal Research (UAR) themselves have classified this particular procedure as "severe" in terms of how large the risk of death and suffering in the animals is. You don't want this experience, and neither do they.

  6. …animals have not been as critical to the advancement of medicine as is typically claimed by proponents of animal experimentation.

    Moreover, a great deal of animal experimentation has been misleading and resulted in either withholding of drugs, sometimes for years, that were subsequently found to be highly beneficial to humans, or to the release and use of drugs that, though harmless to animals, have actually contributed to human suffering and death.

    Jane Goodall 'Reason for Hope', 1999

  7. Beagles are used 4 animal experimentation because they are very kind & don't rebel as much as other dogs. When they bark too much these mad scientists cut their vocal cords.

  8. The history of cancer research has been the history of curing cancer in the mouse. We have cured mice of cancer for decades and it simply didn’t work in human beings. Dr. Richard Klausner, former director of the US National Cancer Institute

  9. The strength of botox is measured in mouse LD50 units. This cruel test involves injecting hundreds of mice directly into their abdomens and counting the number who die from poisoning over the next three days. Tens of thousands of mice suffer in this way in the UK and Ireland every year. CRUELTY FREE

  10. Physiology is very different from one species to another. A drug can be effective on one species & have no effect or be nocive on another species. Translation from: "Animaux cobayes & victimes humaines" By Hélène Sarraseca

  11. SOME ALTERNATIVES TO THE USE OF ANIMALS IN TESTING INCLUDE

    in vitro (test tube) test methods and models based on human cell and tissue cultures

    computerized patient-drug databases and virtual drug trials

    computer models and simulations

    stem cell and genetic testing methods

    non-invasive imaging techniques such as MRIs and CT Scans

    microdosing (in which humans are given very low quantities of a drug to test the effects on the body on the cellular level, without affecting the whole body system) NEAVS

  12. If U wish to know more about the subject of animal experimentation, read books ➕ type cats in animal testing on google.

  13. If French 🇫🇷 vous pouvez signer 1⃣ pétition contre l'expérimentation animale sur le site 30 Millions d'Amis 🐎 🐭 🐦 🐁 🐒 🐰 🐾 🐈🐱🐖🐡🦋🐕🐶

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