Now, a jab to treat Parkinson`s!

Last Updated: May 23, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

London: In a key breakthrough, British scientists have developed what they claim is a single jab of genes which can substantially reduce symptoms of Parkinson`s disease when injected directly into the brain.

Parkinson`s disease`s symptoms include tremors and stiffness. It`s caused by death of brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine which is essential for co-ordination.
Treatments include a drug called L-dopa, which boosts dopamine but can cause muscle problems.

Now, a team at Oxford BioMedica firm has developed the new injection which contains three genes which are key to the manufacture of dopamine. Injected into the brain under
anaesthetic it sets up a replacement dopamine "factory", the `Daily Mail` reported.

Just one jab may be enough to treat the disease for life, say the scientists who have based their findings on an analysis of an experiment on dementia patients.

In their experiment, the scientists gave nine patients the injection. The findings revealed that there was an average reduction in shaking and stiffness of nearly 43 percent in all
the subjects.

The treatment improved walking and dexterity by up to 61 per cent in one patient. Others were able to take the bus or complete a round of golf for the first time in years; there were no serious side-effects, the findings revealed.

However, more trials are planned, and the drug is at least six years away from sale, say the scientists who recently presented their findings at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy`s conference.

PTI