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Parkinson's breakthrough hailed a 'miracle'

17th March 2011

A breakthrough in the study of Parkinson's disease has been hailed a 'miracle', with experts claiming it may alter the way neurological disorders are treated.

A new study led by Michael Kaplitt, vice chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital, shows a new form of gene therapy can bring about substantial improvement in Parkinson's sufferers.

In clinical trials, patients who had viral particles carrying genes inserted into the brain showed a 23 per cent improvement in motor skills compared to 13 per cent in a control group – a major improvement on results from tests using conventional medicines, Dr Kaplitt explained.

'This brings us a legitimate step closer than we've ever been before in the history of the world to realising the potential of gene therapy for ordinary patients,' he told the New York Daily News.

One of the patients in the study, 61-year-old Walter Liskiewicz, said undergoing the gene therapy has enabled him to resume playing jazz music – something he had to give up shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson's.

'Everything was taken away from me and to just have it handed back is pretty special. It's like a miracle,' he stated.

Earlier this month, research published in the Neurology journal claimed people who regularly take ibuprofen are 40 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's.
 

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