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Parkinsons Dis. 2012;2012:757305. doi: 10.1155/2012/757305. Epub 2012 Mar 25.

Gene therapy for Parkinson's disease.

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1
Department of Neurology, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, Mindelson Way, Birmingham B15 2WB, UK.

Abstract

Current pharmacological and surgical treatments for Parkinson's disease offer symptomatic improvements to those suffering from this incurable degenerative neurological disorder, but none of these has convincingly shown effects on disease progression. Novel approaches based on gene therapy have several potential advantages over conventional treatment modalities. These could be used to provide more consistent dopamine supplementation, potentially providing superior symptomatic relief with fewer side effects. More radically, gene therapy could be used to correct the imbalances in basal ganglia circuitry associated with the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, or to preserve or restore dopaminergic neurons lost during the disease process itself. The latter neuroprotective approach is the most exciting, as it could theoretically be disease modifying rather than simply symptom alleviating. Gene therapy agents using these approaches are currently making the transition from the laboratory to the bedside. This paper summarises the theoretical approaches to gene therapy for Parkinson's disease and the findings of clinical trials in this rapidly changing field.

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