Could Modified Viruses be the Future of PD Treatment?

As this week is Parkinson’s Disease awareness week it is important we share stories of how our profession can help those with the debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. So please feel free to let us know if there are any case studies or sentiments you wish to share.

CAUTION – ANIMAL STUDY ALERT

A study in Nature Biotechnology has suggested that injecting modified viruses into people with Parkinson’s may be a viable and successful treatment in the future. The viruses involved in the study has been engineered to carry four genes for reprogramming astrocytes and results were promising. However it is important to note that the study included mice only.

The mice did show improvements in gait and balance and no adverse side effects such as tumors.

The biggest win however came when the team used the same four genes to convert astrocytes into dopamine neurones in a dish. It is important to be aware that further safety tests are needed before human trials are even considered. This is still a long way off.

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