A technological breakthrough in the fight against Parkinson’s disease has the potential to change the lives of millions of sufferers the world over. Researchers from the UK have invested a new device that allows protein therapy to be administered deep into the brains of Parkinson’s patients, spurring regrowth of the brain cells damaged by the debilitating condition.
A series of tubes and catheters are inserted into the brain and connected to a port positioned behind the patient’s ear. Once a month, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is carefully administered by doctors via the port, in order to allow the essential protein to travel quickly to the internal regions of the brain.
The system has now been trialed six times by British doctors and intend to expand the research to a further 36 Parkinson’s sufferers in order to continue their research.
“For years, the potential of GDNF as a treatment for Parkinson’s has remained one of the great unanswered research questions,” said Parkinson’s UK research director Dr Kieran Breen.
“This new study will take us one step closer to finally answering this question once and for all,”
“We believe GDNF could have the potential to unlock a new approach for treating Parkinson’s that may be able to slow down and ultimately stop the progression of the condition altogether,”
“Currently there are very few treatments available for people with Parkinson’s and none capable of stopping the condition from advancing.”
Parkinson’s disease affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, with life-changing symptoms that include tremors, slow movement, stiffness and serious disability.
Speaking with Sky News in the UK, Frenchay Hospital’s Professor Steven Gill who led the research stated that: “If this technology proves to be safe and reliable … it has huge applications across neurological diseases, not only for treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also brain tumors and other conditions.”