Publication date: Apr 13, 2019
Results from a February study of a revolutionary treatment suggest that it may be possible to slow, stop, or even reverse the progression of Parkinson disease, according to findings in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. The 3-part, experimental study investigated whether using a novel delivery system to increase levels of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) can regenerate dying dopamine brain cells in patients with Parkinson disease and even reverse their condition.
GDNF is a naturally occurring protein that promotes the survival of many types of neurons. -I believe that this approach could be the first neuro-restorative treatment for people living with Parkinson’s, which is, of course, an extremely exciting prospect,” Steven Gill, MB, MS, FRCS, who designed the infusion device used in the study, said in a statement Researchers used robot-assisted neurosurgery to implant a specially designed delivery system, termed Convection Enhanced Delivery (CED), which allowed high flow rate infusion to be administered to patients every 4 weeks.
Half of the participants were randomly assigned to receive monthly infusions of GDNF while the other half received placebos. Positron emission tomography (PET) brain scans from the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100% in the targeted area of the brain affected by Parkinson disease, leading researchers to believe that the treatment may have the potential to reawaken or restore damaged brain cells.
“The spatial and relative magnitude of the improvement in the brain scans is beyond anything seen previously in trials of surgically delivered growth-factor treatments for Parkinson’s,” the study’s principal investigator Alan L. Whone, PhD, FRCP, Translational Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, said in a statement .
The group that was receiving placebo for the first 40 weeks was then given GDNF. The study’s primary endpoint was the percentage change in the OFF state Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor score from baseline to the conclusion of the 80-week period between the group that consistently received GDNF and the group that received placebo and then GDNF. Although symptoms in both groups were found to either moderately or significantly improve after 18 months, once all participants had received GDNF, no significant differences between the groups in the primary or supplementary endpoints were observed throughout the study.
This is a significant breakthrough in our ability to treat neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, because most drugs that might work cannot cross from the blood stream into the brain due to a natural protective barrier,” said researchers in a statement Researchers believe that further studies are required to determine whether GDNF can reverse, slow, or stop the progression of Parkinson disease.
- Parkinson disease and growth factors – is GDNF good enough?
- CDNF Protein Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease.
- Stem cells and regenerative therapies for Parkinson’s disease.
- Semaglutide is Neuroprotective and Reduces α-Synuclein Levels in the Chronic MPTP Mouse Model of Parkinson’s Disease.