According to the definition of the Committee to Identify Neuroprotective Agents in Parkinson's Disease (CINAPS), "neuroprotection would be any intervention that favourably influences the disease process or underlying pathogenesis to produce enduring benefits for patients" [Meissner W, et al. Trends Pharmacol Sci 2004;25:249-253]. Preferably, neuroprotective agents should be used before or eventually during the prodromal phase of the diseases that could start decades before the appearance of symptoms. Although several symptomatic drugs are available, a disease-modifying agent is still elusive.
The aim of the present review is to give an overview of neuroprotective agents being currently investigated for the treatment of AD, PD, HD and ALS in clinical phases.
Development of effective neuroprotective therapies resulting in clinically meaningful results is hampered by several factors in all research stages, both conceptual and methodological. Novel solutions might be offered by evaluation of new targets throughout clinical studies, therapies emerging from drug repositioning approaches, multi-target approaches and network pharmacology.