Symptomatic treatments are available for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. An unmet need is cure or disease modification. This review discusses possible reasons for negative clinical study outcomes on disease modification following promising positive findings from experimental research. It scrutinizes current research paradigms for disease modification with antibodies against pathological protein enrichment, such as α-synuclein, amyloid or tau, based on post mortem findings. Instead a more uniform regenerative and reparative therapeutic approach for chronic neurodegenerative disease entities is proposed with stimulation of an endogenously existing repair system, which acts independent of specific disease mechanisms. The repulsive guidance molecule A pathway is involved in the regulation of peripheral and central neuronal restoration. Therapeutic antagonism of repulsive guidance molecule A reverses neurodegeneration according to experimental outcomes in numerous disease models in rodents and monkeys. Antibodies against repulsive guidance molecule A exist. First clinical studies in neurological conditions with an acute onset are under way. Future clinical trials with these antibodies should initially focus on well characterized uniform cohorts of patients. The efficiency of repulsive guidance molecule A antagonism and associated stimulation of neurogenesis should be demonstrated with objective assessment tools to counteract dilution of therapeutic effects by subjectivity and heterogeneity of chronic disease entities. Such a research concept will hopefully enhance clinical test strategies and improve the future therapeutic armamentarium for chronic neurodegeneration.
Keywords: apoptosis; neurodegeneration; neurogenesis; neuroprotection; oxidative stress; repair; repulsive guidance molecule A.