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Gene Therapy Study for Parkinson’s Disease

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Did you know that eight sites in the United States have become involved in a research study for advanced Parkinson’s disease and a hospital in Michigan is one of them? Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital is the only facility in Michigan participating in these research trials, which are for a remarkable new genetic therapy known as gene transfer. Many seniors, physicians and Parkinson’s caregivers in West Bloomfield are hopeful about the outcome of this research.

Current Parkinson’s Treatments

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system. Its most noticeable symptoms are shaking, rigidity and slow movement. Because the disease is degenerative, it later affects one’s gait when walking and usually requires the assistant of a 24/7 live-in caregiver in Bloomfield.

The current treatment for Parkinson’s involves dopamine, which is effective in the early motor stage of the disease. However, as Parkinson’s progresses, dopamine treatment not only becomes ineffective bit it results in a complication called diskinesia which is noted by involuntary twitching movements.

About Gene Therapy

As an alternative for aging adults who have lost responsiveness to drug therapy, researchers began studying gene therapy. Genetic therapy for Parkinson’s initially involved embedding a therapeutic gene to replace a mutated gene; mutated genes are the basis for Parkinson’s. This initial gene therapy resulted in production of a protein that treated the disease. The current research and therapy focuses on increasing a neurotransmitter specific to movement. Researchers at West Bloomfield Hospital believe that this is a more effective way of treating advanced Parkinson’s disease.

In the clinical trials, the gene therapy is administered to the brain through a catheter. As an alternative to gene therapy, the adult with Parkinson’s might elect for deep brain stimulation, where a pacemaker-like device is implanted into the brain in an attempt to reduce advanced symptoms.

In-Home Parkinson’s Care

This current gene therapy research utilizes the most promising technology and offers a glimmer of hope for aging adults who are living with Parkinson’s disease. If your aging parent or loved one has been diagnosed with PD, the caring and highly-trained staff at Home Care Assistance of West Bloomfield, MI knows how difficult it can be to manage in-home care on your own. That is why we offer expertly trained Parkinson’s caregivers for hourly and 24/7 in-home senior care. For more information about our personalized Parkinson’s Care Plans, or to schedule a complementary in-home consultation, please call 248.283.0835.