Re: Shulman seeks people for drug study

Annette DeCairos (
Tue, 25 Aug 1998 23:25:53 -0400

Doug Skrecky wrote:
> >From the Friday, August 21,1998 edition of the Globe and Mail newspaper
> Leonard Zehr
> Biotechnology Reporter
> Shulman seeks people for drug study
> Parkinson's trust needs volunteers to determine whether Deprenyl can
> increase life span
> Seventy-three-year-old Morton Shulman thinks he's found the Fountain of
> Youth.
> Beginning Monday, the Parkinson's Charitable Trust will begin running ads
> in Toronto newspapers looking for 1,500 volunteers to participate in a
> long-term study to determine whether the drug Deprenyl can make you live
> longer and better.
> "Without Deprenyl, I would have been dead in 1989," said Dr. Shulman, who
> was instrumental in setting up the trust after he contracted Parkinson's
> disease 15 years ago.
> Dr. Shulman's study is the latest attempt in a centuries-old search to
> stave off the aging process, an obsession that dates back to the 16th
> century when Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, searching for the Fountain of
> Youth, discovered Florida instead.
> Today, pharmaceutical companies are developing more than 150 medicines for
> the debilitating diseases of aging. Moreover, Canadian researchers recently
> indentified a gene that plays a central role in aging. And biologists,
> studying aging at the cellular and genetic levels, are finding that life
> span is far easier to manipulate than they had expected.
> "Dr. Shulman has always had a nagging interest that Deprenyl slows down
> the breakdown of certain cells in the brain that cause the aging process,"
> said Trevor Williams, the former head of the Parkinson Foundation of
> Canada. Mr. Williams left the foundation in March and will manage the new
> Deprenyl studies as the senior staffer at the Parkinson's trust.
> Half of the 1,500 volunteers in the "double-blind" Deprenyl study will
> take five milligrams of the drug twice a week beginning in September, while
> the other half will take a like amount of a placebo. Dr. Shulman, who says
> Deprenyl is harmless and doesn't interact with any other drug, wants
> healthy individuals aged 40 to 65 for the 15-year study. Initial results
> will be reviewed in five years.
> But the real drama will begin in the next 12 months when the Parkinson's
> trust will begin testing a newly developed derivative of Deprenyl on 1,500
> new volunteers.
> In an interview, Dr. Shulman said Jozsef Knoll, the Hungarian
> pharmacologist who originally invented Deprenyl, has been working with
> animals for the past three years to improve the drug. "By cutting off one
> part of the molecular chemical structure, Dr. Knoll has produced a drug
> that is 100 times more effective than Deprenyl."
> The new drug, which is hush-hush because Dr. Knoll hasn't applied for a
> patent yet and hasn't published his findings, will also be tested against
> Deprenyl and a placebo next year.
> Dr. Shulman said that like Deprenyl, the new drug has no side effects.
> "The effect it has on dogs and cats and smaller animals is amazing. Dogs
> are living 50 per cent longer and smaller animals, like birds, live twice
> as long."
> Dr. Shulman and Dr. Knoll have been friends and colleagues for several
> decades. Dr. Shulman originally acquired Dr. Knoll's work in 1990 for his
> company, Deprenyl Research Ltd., now Draxis Health Inc or Toronto.
> Last December, when Draxis sold the rights to an animal version of
> Deprenyl to Pfizer Inc., DR. Shulman forced Draxis to issue 200,000
> warrents to Dr. Knoll to fulfill part of the original 1990 contract.
> Largely at the urging and backing of Dr. Shulman, Dr. Knoll is now suing
> Draxis for $100-million (U.S.) claiming breach of contract and infringement
> of patent rights. Draxis has countered by suing Dr. Shulman for, among
> other things, interfering with its $41-million deal with Pfizer.
> According to Dr. Shulman, the only longevity study with Deprenyl on humans
> was conducted in 1985 by Walter Birkmayer at the University of Vienna. His
> patients - all suffering from Parkinson's - lived on average an additional
> 15 to 28 months. "It wasn't an ideal study because it wasn't a
> double-blind," Dr. Shulman said.
> In a double-blind study, neither patients nor researchers know who is
> getting the real drug and who is taking the placebo.
> Earlier this week, Dr. Shulman offered New York-based Pfizer a chance to
> participate in Dr. Knoll's new studies and possibly acquire 50 per cent "of
> all our end holdings." Pfizer hasn't responded. But Dr. Shulman believes a
> more potent form of Deprenyl will have "important competitive implications"
> for Pfizer.
> "Dr. Knoll has never been wrong before," Dr. Shulman said. "Can you
> imagine the significance if we can prove in humans what we know works in
> animals."


If someone is interested in this study, who would he or she contact?