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PJ Online | News: Growth factor infusion improves Parkinson's disease symptoms

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The Pharmaceutical Journal
Vol 268 No 7195 p557-561
27 April 2002

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Growth factor infusion improves Parkinson's disease symptoms

Introducing a growth factor into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease might become a future treatment for the disease.

Dr Steven Gill, consultant neurosurgeon, Frenchay hospital, Bristol, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of infusing glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) into the putamen area of the brain.

Preliminary results in five patients with advanced Parkinson's disease showed improved motor function. A reduction in "off" medication duration, an increase in "on" medication duration, and a reduction in severity and duration of dyskinesia were also observed.

GDNF is a nerve growth factor. It has previously been shown to promote recovery of injured nigrostriatal dopaminergic lesions and, in animals has been shown to improve symptoms of parkinsonism. However, intraventricular injections of GDNF in humans have not been effective, probably because of a lack of penetration into the correct area of the brain. The current research is trying to overcome this problem by infusing GDNF directly into the putamen.

The research has been supported by the Parkinson's Disease Society. A spokesman said that although the research is in its infancy, it represented an important step forward in research into treatments.

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Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 20006611

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