UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Multiple N-of-1 trials to investigate hypoxia therapy in Parkinson’s disease: study rationale and protocol Janssen Daalen, Jules M.; Meinders, Marjan J.; Giardina, Federica; Roes, Kit C. B.; Stunnenberg, Bas C.; Mathur, Soania; Ainslie, Philip N., 1974-; Thijssen, Dick H. J.; Bloem, Bastiaan R.


Background Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease, for which no disease-modifying therapies exist. Preclinical and clinical evidence suggest that hypoxia-based therapy might have short- and long-term benefits in PD. We present the contours of the first study to assess the safety, feasibility and physiological and symptomatic impact of hypoxia-based therapy in individuals with PD. Methods/Design In 20 individuals with PD, we will investigate the safety, tolerability and short-term symptomatic efficacy of continuous and intermittent hypoxia using individual, double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled N-of-1 trials. This design allows for dose finding and for including more individualized outcomes, as each individual serves as its own control. A wide range of exploratory outcomes is deployed, including the Movement Disorders Society Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating scale (MDS-UPDRS) part III, Timed Up & Go Test, Mini Balance Evaluation Systems (MiniBES) test and wrist accelerometry. Also, self-reported impression of overall symptoms, motor and non-motor symptoms and urge to take dopaminergic medication will be assessed on a 10-point Likert scale. As part of a hypothesis-generating part of the study, we also deploy several exploratory outcomes to probe possible underlying mechanisms of action, including cortisol, erythropoietin and platelet-derived growth factor β. Efficacy will be assessed primarily by a Bayesian analysis. Discussion This evaluation of hypoxia therapy could provide insight in novel pathways that may be pursued for PD treatment. This trial also serves as a proof of concept for deploying an N-of-1 design and for including individualized outcomes in PD research, as a basis for personalized treatment approaches. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05214287 (registered January 28, 2022).

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)