VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center to test new therapeutic option for GI symptoms

Researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth UniversityParkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center hope to find some encouraging answers in the treatment of gastroparesis associated with Parkinson’s disease.

The results of a new research study may provide valuable clinical data and a greater understanding of the drug RQ-00000010 and its potential as a new treatment option for certain diseases associated with functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastroparesis and constipation.

Gastroparesis is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine. Symptoms include reflux, pain in the stomach area, abdominal bloating and lack of appetite.

Through the clinical study, Leslie Cloud, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center in the School of Medicine, hopes to find an improvement in upper, and possibly lower, GI motility after dosing with RQ-00000010. In addition, Cloud, who specializes in the study of GI symptoms in Parkinson’s disease patients, hopes the work will find an improvement in the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of orally-administered levodopa after dosing with RQ-00000010.

According to Cloud, levodopa – the mainstay of medical therapy for Parkinson’s disease – must make it through the stomach to be absorbed in the small intestine. Therefore, its absorption is negatively impacted by slowed GI motility, she said.

“If successful, this new treatment option may improve quality of life for Parkinson’s disease patients by treating symptoms of both gastroparesis and constipation,” Cloud said.

“By improving GI motility, RQ-00000010 may also positively impact how Parkinson’s disease patients respond to levodopa, which is the mainstay of medical therapy for Parkinson’s disease. Given that the majority of Parkinson’s disease patients suffer from constipation and/or gastroparesis, the potential impact of this new treatment is huge, which is why I am so excited about it,” she said.

Cloud has piloted a novel rating scale for the evaluation of symptoms that has led to better characterization of the GI dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease and documentation of the responses to these symptoms in common Parkinson’s disease therapies and GI medications.

VCU PMDC is collaborating with RaQualia Pharma Inc., the maker of RQ-00000010, and will submit a sponsor-investigator Investigational New Drug application to the U.S. Food and Drug administration to investigate the new drug in Parkinson’s disease patients with symptomatic gastroparesis. When approved, investigators at the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center will initiate a clinical trial in which RQ-00000010 will be dosed to patients.


About RaQualia: RaQualia Pharma Inc. is an innovative life science company engaging in discovery, development and marketing of clinical and pre-clinical drug candidates for unmet medical needs. RaQualia’s vision is to bring people hope, health and happiness with new medicines. For further information, please visit

Subscribe for free to the weekly VCU News email newsletter at and receive a selection of stories, videos, photos, news clips and event listings in your inbox every Thursday. VCU students, faculty and staff automatically receive the newsletter. To learn more about research taking place at VCU, subscribe to its research blog, Across the Spectrum at

Leslie Cloud, M.D.
Leslie Cloud, M.D.