Read the latest GDNF trial news - GDNF clinical trial offers hope for restoring brain cells damaged in Parkinson's.
About the trial
GDNF (glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) is a special protein that is naturally produced inside the brain and supports the survival of many types of brain cells – including the cells lost in Parkinson's.
Dr Alan Whone, Principal Investigator on the GDNF trial says:
"We are now focused upon analysing and understanding the results, and our aim is to communicate these to people affected by Parkinson's as soon as we can."
To investigate the effects of GDNF, 41 people with Parkinson's took part in a groundbreaking clinical trial in Bristol.
In the first phase, participants received either GDNF or a placebo (a dummy drug) for 9 months. In the second phase all participants received GDNF for a second 9 months.
Initial analysis suggested that the treatment is safe but there was no clear difference between those who received GDNF and those who received the placebo after 9 months.
These initial results only scratched the surface of the huge amount of the information collected throughout the study, which has generated over 20,000 sheets of data.
The full analysis of all the data is now nearing completion and will give us a much more comprehensive picture of the effects of GDNF.
Get up to speed with GDNF
Dr Alan Whone, Principal Investigator on the GDNF trial, recently gave a lecture to update people affected by Parkinson's on the progress of the trial so far.
In part 1 of his lecture, he discusses the scientific discoveries and innovation that has made the trial possible:
In part 2, Alan discusses what we've learnt from the trial so far and what more is to come:
Update: this story was updated on 23 February 2021, after the publication of the trial results.
This story was originally published in May 2017.
Read more about GDNF
The trial has advanced our understanding of the potential effects of GDNF on damaged brain cells.
But there are still important questions to answer about GDNF's potential to be a life-changing treatment for people with Parkinson's.
Read more about GDNF, the results of the trial and what's next.