View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
February 27, 2019

Direct infusion of GDNF into brain offers hope for Parkinson’s

An experimental study funded by Parkinson's UK has demonstrated promising results for infusion of a naturally-occurring protein called GDNF directly into the brain, offering hope that damaged brain cells in Parkinson's disease patients could be restored.

An experimental study funded by Parkinson’s UK has demonstrated promising results for infusion of a naturally-occurring protein called GDNF directly into the brain, offering hope that damaged brain cells in Parkinson’s disease patients could be restored.

GDNF, also known as glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, was developed by Canadian biopharmaceutical firm MedGenesis Therapeutix.

The study was carried out with support from The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and in collaboration with the North Bristol NHS Trust.

Although the trial did not show significant difference between the treatment group and placebo arm, the researchers found signs of improvements in participants who received GDNF.

Trial principal investigator Alan Whone said: “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.”

A total of 41 participants were enrolled into the study and underwent robot-assisted surgery to have tubes placed into their brains. This allowed direct infusion of GDNF to the affected brain areas.

Of the total participants, 50% of the patients were given monthly GDNF infusions and the remaining half received monthly placebo infusions. After nine months, all patients were offered the GDNF infusions for an additional nine months.

Brain scans after nine months showed no changes in placebo arm but revealed improvement in a key brain area affected due to Parkinson’s in patients who received GDNF. The researchers believe that this could indicate reawakening and restoring of 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.”

At 18 months, both groups demonstrated moderate to large improvements in symptoms compared to their scores prior to the study.

Whone added: “This represents some of the most compelling evidence yet that we may have a means to possibly reawaken and restore the dopamine brain cells that are gradually destroyed in Parkinson’s.”

The team is currently working on exploring possible approaches for further studies of the protein.

Related Companies

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The pharmaceutical industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy
SUBSCRIBED

THANK YOU