Parkinson's patients wanted for cutting-edge research trial at Frenchay Hospital
PEOPLE with Parkinson’s are wanted for a new, cutting-edge trial at Frenchay Hospital.
A team of researchers are looking for 36 people with the debilitating illness to help them continue developing a potential major new treatment which could cure patients.
Neurologist Dr Alan Whone and neurosurgeon Professor Steven Gill, from Frenchay Hospital, are investigating the potential of a promising protein called Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF).
Building on the success of an initial safety trial, the study will investigate whether infusing GDNF directly into the brain using a specially-designed delivery port could help to improve symptoms – such as a stiffness, slowness of movement and tremor – and slow down the spread of the condition.
Professor Gill said: “One of the biggest problems facing many researchers in the past has been finding a way to get past the blood/brain barrier, which prevents materials from blood entering the brain.
“We have developed a new way to bypass this barrier, and deliver the protein directly, by infusion, to the areas of the brain where cells die in Parkinson’s. We are hopeful that this will promote restoration of the dying neurones responsible for the symptoms of the disease.
“The initial safety phase carried out with six patients has assessed the device and the delivery system. The safety results from that mean that we are now ready to move into the main phase of the trial.”
The trial is part of a £2million project funded by Parkinson’s UK, with support from The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and in association with the North Bristol NHS Trust.
To continue, 36 volunteers are needed, some of whom will receive GDNF, and some of whom will receive a placebo dummy treatment for comparison.
Dr Whone said: “We would stress that the surgery involved in this trial is invasive, and potential candidates will undergo rigorous testing and assessments.
"They will need to meet specific criteria regarding their suitability for surgery, for example, their current Parkinson’s treatment plan and any family history. Regular travel to Bristol during the nine months that the trial will run is essential, so preferably they will live within easy reach of the hospital.”
For full details visit www.parkinsons.org.uk
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