Gene therapy treatment shows promise for Parkinson's
12 April 2012
Our director of research, Dr Kieran Breen, was interviewed on
Sky News at lunchtime today, commenting on their story about
Sheila Roy, a lady with Parkinson's who
is taking part in a trial of the gene therapy ProSavin.
Read the full
story and watch the Sky News clip.
What is ProSavin?
We're currently funding £750,000 worth of cutting-edge gene therapy research in the UK, which we believe could take these treatments to the next level.
Dr Kieran Breen, our director of research
ProSavin is a gene therapy treatment for Parkinson's that is
currently in the early stages (Phase I/II) of clinical trials
- which means it's currently being tested in a small group of
15 people with the condition.
ProSavin, developed by British company Oxford BioMedica,
contains 3 genes essential for making dopamine.
People with Parkinson's don't have enough of the chemical
dopamine because nerve cells in their brain have died. Current treatments help to boost dopamine levels
inside the brain but can cause significant side effects.
An injection of ProSavin boosts the ability of nerve cells to
make their own dopamine.
This may mean that people with Parkinson's could one day reduce
their dependence on current drugs that come with significant side
What are the latest results from the trial?
latest results from the ProSavin trial were released by
Oxford BioMedica in December 2011.
So far the therapy seems to be safe, and participants have
showed promising improvements in their Parkinson's symptoms.
But these trials are still in their early stages. Longer and
larger studies will need to be carried out to prove the treatment
is safe and effective before this treatment becomes available to
people with Parkinson's.
The promise of gene therapies
director of research and innovation, Dr Kieran Breen (pictured
"Gene therapies hold great promise for people with Parkinson's
in the future, as they could mean an end to the daily regime of
drugs that most people with the condition currently face.
"In addition to ProSavin, there are 3 other gene therapy trials
underway at the moment.
"So far all the therapies appear to be safe. Now the challenge
is to see whether they are more effective than the medications we
already have for Parkinson's.
"Parkinson's UK is currently funding £750,000 worth of
cutting-edge gene therapy research in the UK, which we believe
could take these treatments to the next level."
Find out more about gene therapy
Read about the research into gene therapies that we're