Kaplitt and Feigin said it would be difficult to compare the highly effective deep brain stimulation to gene therapy just yet, but that each procedure offers different benefits.
"In practice . . . there are lots of factors," Feigin said, noting that costs for both may be similar. "Some patients might not want hardware in their brain, or others want tried and true methods. Some want state-of-the-art. So a lot will be determined by the patient."
Dr. Michael S. Okun, national medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation, praised the study, saying it opens the door to "the hope for better symptomatic therapies in Parkinson's disease, though patients should clearly understand their limitations."
Okun added, "The gene therapy approach is clever and different. This is an important study, particularly in terms of safety. It will be important to follow these patients longer to look for delayed benefits and potentially delayed risks."
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on Parkinson's disease.
SOURCES: Michael Kaplitt, M.D., vice chairman for research, department of neurological surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, and neurosurgeon, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York City; Andrew Feigin, M.D., associate investigator, Center for Neurosciences, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, N.Y.; Michael S. Okun, M.D., national medical director, National Parkinson Foundation; March 17, 2011, The Lancet Neurology, online
All rights reserved