611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

Health Choice Integrated Care crisis Line
1-877-756-4090

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530



SEABHS
611 W. Union Street
Benson, AZ 85602
(520) 586-0800

AzCH Nurse Assist Line
1-866-495-6735

NAZCARE Warm Line
1-888-404-5530


powered by centersite dot net

Getting Started
Here are some forms to get started. These can be printed and brought with you so that you can pre-fill out some known info ahead of time. More...


Health Sciences
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Gene Tweaking Prevented Obesity in MiceApproach That New Gene Testing Kit With CautionResearch on Almost 2,000 Brains Brings Insight Into Mental IllnessRestoring Hair Growth on Scarred Skin? Mouse Study Could Show the WayParkinson's Gene Therapy Wires New Brain CircuitsNext for Disabling Back Pain? New Discs From Patients' Own CellsSkin 'Glow' Test Might Someday Spot Disease Risk EarlyComputer-Brain Link Helps 'Locked In' People Chat, Surf WebCould a Natural Protein Help Fight Obesity?Blood Test May One Day Help Track Concussion RecoveryThe Bigger the Brain, the Bigger the Tumor Risk?Gene Therapy for Parkinson's Symptoms Shows PromiseCould Same-Sex Couples Have Babies With Shared DNA? Study Hints It's PossibleMany Americans Curious, But Wary, About Gene TestingAHA: New Report Explores Genes Behind Congenital Heart DiseaseScientists Find 500 More Genes That Influence Blood PressureALS Affects the Mind, Not Just the BodyScientists Finally Get Around to Finding Procrastination's Home in the BrainGene 'Editing' in Dog Study Shows Promise for Kids With Muscular DystrophyGut Enzyme Could Help Solve U.S. Blood Shortages'Fat' Mouse Test Failure Yields New Obesity ClueIs Evolution of the Human Brain to Blame for Some Mental Disorders?Scientists Trace Link Between Head Injuries and Parkinson'sAHA: Scientists May Have Cleared Gene Therapy HurdleAlmost 1,300 Genes Seem Tied to Academic SuccessBrains May Be as Unique as Fingerprints'Heading' Soccer Balls May Be Bad for BalanceScientists Target Cellular 'Fountain of Youth' to Extend Mouse Life SpanThose At-Home DNA Tests Are an Imperfect ScienceScientists Spot Gene Linking Down Syndrome, Early Alzheimer'sMassive Study Finds Same Genes Drive Many Psychiatric ConditionsThyroid Cancer Survivors at Risk for Heart DiseaseBetter Diet, Bigger Brain?Primary Care Providers Have Mixed Views on Genetic TestsFDA Targets Clinics Offering Unapproved Stem Cell TherapiesRestless Legs Linked to Brain ChangesContact Sports May Alter the Brain, Scans SuggestJust One Concussion Could Raise Parkinson's RiskLove Your Hair Color? You Have Over 100 Genes to Thank.Too Much Sitting Could Raise Brain RisksBusting Myths Surrounding Cancer and Genetic TestingTough Times Can Leave Their Mark on the Older BrainSugar-Craving Gene Helps Lower Body Fat, But Has DownsideMajor Project Completes Genetic 'Map' of 33 CancersOlder Brains Replenish Cells Just Like Young Brains: StudyScientists Say They Discovered a 'New Organ' in the BodyNew Technology Gives 'Feeling' to Prosthetic ArmsBlood Pressure Check? There May Soon Be an App for ThatHealth Tip: What You Can Learn From Genetic TestingAs Stroke 'Liquefies' Brain Tissue, Lasting Harm May Spread
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Medical Disorders
Mental Disorders
Mental Health Professions

Gene Therapy for Parkinson's Symptoms Shows Promise

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Oct 25th 2018

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Oct. 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A new gene therapy might help improve motor symptoms in people with Parkinson's disease who aren't responding to other therapies, an early study has found.

"This is not a cure of Parkinson's disease," said James Beck, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson's Foundation. "This is a potentially good treatment for symptom control. It provides an additional way of providing dopamine to the brain, but it doesn't stop the progression of Parkinson's disease."

The new treatment uses a virus to deliver gene therapy to a targeted area of the brain. The gene therapy affects an enzyme called AADC. This enzyme transforms levodopa into dopamine in the brain.

Cells that make the neurotransmitter dopamine -- a chemical messenger in the brain -- die off in Parkinson's disease, according to the U.S. National Institute on Aging. A loss of dopamine causes the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, such as tremor and slow movements.

Standard treatments attempt to replace the lost dopamine. For example, one current medication is levodopa, but the cells that transform levodopa into dopamine have to be functioning for this treatment to work. As the dopamine-producing cells die off, it becomes harder and harder for the brain to respond to medications like this, Beck explained.

And, that's where the new gene treatment may help.

Led by Dr. Chadwick Christine, at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers used MRI scanning to locate the right area of the brain. Then they infused the new gene therapy into a targeted area of the brain called the putamen. The study team chose this area because these brain cells aren't destroyed by Parkinson's disease.

The phase 1 trial included 15 people who were no longer responding to other Parkinson's treatments. They all received one infusion of the gene therapy -- known as VY-AADC.

After the treatment, researchers followed the patients' health for up to 36 months and found that the treatment was well-tolerated. The most serious side effects -- a blood clot and an irregular heart rhythm caused by the blood clot -- were related to the surgery used to deliver the treatment, and not the treatment itself, the researchers said.

The therapy also showed a meaningful improvement in the time people spent without movement symptoms each day. And the effect appeared to be lasting, with some of the patients followed for as long as three years.

Dr. Alessandro Di Rocco, director of the Movement Disorders Program at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y., reviewed the findings.

"This study seems to be a step forward in perfecting the [gene therapy] vector and they were able to give it safely," he said.

Di Rocco added that the decrease in symptoms "is a real effect."

But, like Beck, he cautioned that this is an early study with only a small number of people in the trial. Di Rocco also noted that the trial wasn't "blinded," so it's possible there was a placebo effect for some.

Both Di Rocco and Beck also expressed concern about the possible cost of such therapy.

The University of California, San Francisco, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center researchers aren't the only team working on gene therapy for Parkinson's symptoms. A group of British researchers is actively recruiting Parkinson's patients to take part in a gene therapy trial that's also aimed at increasing the availability of dopamine in the brain.

Their trial will look at up to 30 patients receiving treatment in London or Paris. For this study, researchers are targeting a part of the brain called the striatum.

Results of the American study were presented Sunday at the American Neurological Association meeting, in Atlanta. Findings presented at meetings should be viewed as preliminary until they've been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Learn more about Parkinson's disease treatments from the Parkinson's Foundation.