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GDNF may provide hope for Parkinson's disease

July 2nd 2005

The Human Brain

PINON HILLS, CA -  The experimental drug glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (or GDNF) may give hope to those suffering from Parkinsonís disease.  Parkinsonís is a degenerative brain disease. 

It appears the drug is able to re-grow brain tissue when pumped into the damaged part of the brain.  Dramatic improved mobility has been reported by patients after treatment.

It was a startling finding.  When Professor Seth Love, Steven S. Gill and colleagues at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, England examined the brain of a 62 year-old patient who had been using GDNF he discovered that the dopamine-containing nerve fibers had sprouted back.  It was thought that GDNF protected the dopamine-producing cells. 

The patient had suffered from Parkinsonís disease for five years before taking GDNF.  He showed a 75% improvement in his ability to perform daily tasks while on the drug for nearly four years.  His brain was examined after he died of a heart attack. 


Other patients in the trial in Britain experienced dramatic improvements in their ability to perform day-to-day tasks, like walking and writing, their motor skills, verbal memory, facial expressions and motivation.  The study will be published in the journal Nature Medicine Monday. 

Amgen Inc (Thousand Oaks, CA), the maker of the drug, discontinued clinical trials in the US last year after some monkeys on high doses of the drug suffered brain damage.  The company said it could not justify subjecting patients to more risk because there was no evidence the drug was effective.  In fact, the company said it was no more effective than a placebo.

Some of those patients in the trial sued Amgen to get continued supplies of the drug. They were turned down by a federal judge in New York in June. A second suit is pending.

By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer


Keywords and misspellings:  parkinsons disese diseese GDF Ingland parksons


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Sunday, July 11, 2010 01:18 AM