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PET Scans Show Gene Therapy Normalizes Brain Function in Parkinson's Patients
Date:11/19/2007

doesn't make things worse." The gene makes an inhibitory chemical called GABA that turns down the activity in a key node of the Parkinson's motor network. The investigators were not expecting to see changes in cognition, and the scans confirmed that this did not occur.

Position emission tomography (PET) scans were performed before the surgery and repeated six months later and then again one year after the surgery. The motor network on the untreated side of the body got worse, and the treated side got better. The level of improvements in the motor network correlated with increased clinical ratings of patient disability, added Dr. Feigin.

"Having this information from a PET scan allows us to know that what we are seeing is real," Dr. Eidelberg added. The scans also detected differences in responses between dose groups, with the highest gene therapy dose demonstrating a longer-lasting effect. "This study demonstrates that PET scanning can be a valuable marker in testing novel therapies for Parkinson's disease," he said.

The gene therapy technique was developed by Neurologix Inc., a New Jersey-based company. Scientists are now working on a design for a phase 2 blinded study that would include a larger number of patients to test the effectiveness of the treatment.

About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, human genetics, leukemia, lymphoma, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. Part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, FIMR ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. Feinstein researchers are developing new drugs and drug targets, and producing results where science meets the patient. For more information, please visit

SOURCE The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
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