What is Parkinson´s disease? Parkinson´s Disease is a disease of the nervous system. Some effects are shaky movement when muscle is resting, slowness, bad balance, problems standing up, stiffness, and depression. Everyday many people around the world are being changed thanks to the symptoms of this disease. This disease can’t be cured. but gene therapy can still help improve muscle control by replacing missing brain cells with new healthy ones.
These are the effects of Parkinson´s Disease
Some good news for the people in the future is that there is a rising form of treatment called gene therapy. Gene therapy can improve muscle control by replacing missing brain cells with new healthy ones. Unfortunately, there will still be some side effects. Gene therapy was developed on September 14, 1990, but Parkinson´s patients started using it in 2007. The idea of gene therapy is to use it to transport genes that increase dopamine which is the main molecule that people with Parkinson’s have less of. If this succeeds, it should be able to regain muscle control for Parkinson’s patients without side effects.
This is a picture of what a healthy patient´s cell looks like and what a Parkinson´s patient cell looks like. As you can see the Parkinson´s Patient´s cell doesn´t have a lot of dopamine, which is bad.
The idea of gene therapy for Parkinson’s patients was to build up after many years of discoveries. The first discovery that brought out gene therapy was in the 1980’s, where a retrovirus vector system was designed which could insert genes into mammalian chromosomes. This was finally tested in 1990 when a 4 year old patient received a gene therapy treatment. Another testing was in 2003 when a research team inserted genes into the brain for the first time. Also, in 2007, researchers started trials where they used gene therapy for inherited disease. An example of the testing for gene therapy goes by the name ProSavin, which is an experimental drug created in 2014. The drug is meant to use gene therapy methods in order to treat Parkinson’s without side effects.
In this gene therapy picture it shows how you take the functioning gene from another cell and put into the cell that needs a functioning gene.
As of right now, gene therapy hasn´t really had a big impact on Parkinson’s patients yet, since it´s still being experimented. Gene therapy also hasn´t had a big impact on other diseases too, since some experiments have gone wrong in the past. It made many people have their healthy cells damaged which caused more diseases and longer side effects. It does have potential though. For example, the experiments that have gone well have been treated and even sometimes cured chronic diseases.
If gene therapy for Parkinson’s patients is researched more, there are many great things that can come. From current results, ProSavin is looking good and is steadily going up. The extra research can clean out the flaws and make it safer. If it does go well, curing other diseases will be better. Since people with Parkinson’s have the same dopamine depletion as people with depression, the gene therapy for Parkinson’s could lead to a gene therapy for depression. With a couple more years, Parkinson’s could be cured and new research opportunities could be opened for other diseases.