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Gene therapy for Parkinson's disease moves forward in animals

brain to replenish its dwindling supply of dopamine, sidetracking the destructive course of Parkinson's disease. But eventually the treatment can backfire.

"Levodopa generally works great for several years, but then it actually starts creating movement problems," Mandel said. "Our idea is that instead of taking pills that create detrimental fluctuations of L-dopa levels, a continuous, therapeutic dose would be better for you.

As for efforts to reverse impaired movements in rats, scientists used 33 animals with severe dopamine depletion and transferred a gene to provide a source of L-dopa production into the animals' striata. Before receiving the treatment, all animals had limited use in their left paws. After treatment, the animals receiving the therapeutic enzyme mixture show complete recovery in their paws. Researchers say not only did the rats recover substantial degrees of function in their impaired forelimbs, continuous levels of L-dopa were being produced in their brains, blocking side effects.


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Source:University of Florida


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