Thursday October 24, 2019

Novel Treatment Offers Promise to Stop Parkinson’s

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition

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10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay
10 million people living worldwide suffer from Parkinson;s disease Pixabay

An experimental treatment that delivers a drug directly to the brain has shown promise for slowing, stopping, or even reversing Parkinson’s disease, say researchers.

The study, by a team led by University of Bristol researchers, in a clinical trial investigated whether the treatment called Glial Cell Line Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) — a natural protein, found in the brain — can regenerate dying dopamine brain cells in patients with Parkinson’s and reverse their condition, something no existing treatment can do.

The results potentially demonstrated that the new treatment was starting to reawaken and restore damaged brain cells and that repeated brain infusion is clinically feasible and tolerable, according in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

The study “represents some of the most compelling evidence yet that we may have a means to possibly reawaken and restore the dopamine brain cells that are gradually destroyed in Parkinson’s”, said principal investigator Alan L. Whone, from the University of Bristol in the UK.

After an initial safety study of six people, 35 individuals were enrolled in the nine-month double blind trial, in which half were randomly assigned to receive monthly infusions of GDNF and the other half placebo infusions.

Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s Disease Gets Awareness From Various Events. Flickr

All participants underwent robot-assisted surgery to have four tubes placed into their brains, which allowed GDNF or placebo to be infused directly to the affected areas with pinpoint accuracy, via a port in their head.

After implantation the team administered, more than 1,000 brain infusions, once every four weeks.

After nine months, there was no change in the PET scans of those who received placebo. On the other hand, the group who received GDNF showed an improvement of 100 per cent in a key area of the brain affected in the condition.

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“This trial has shown that we can safely and repeatedly infuse drugs directly into patients’ brains over months or years,” said Steven Gill, lead neurosurgeon at North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK

“This is a significant breakthrough in our ability to treat neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, because most drugs that might work cannot cross from the blood stream into the brain due to a natural protective barrier.” (IANS)

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WHO Report Says, 3 mn TB Cases Do Not Get Proper Care

According to report, the highest burden of TB in 2018 was in eight countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa

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TB
According to Report, Globally, seven million people were diagnosed and treated for TB -- up from 6.4 million in 2017 -- enabling the world to meet one of the milestones towards the UN political declaration targets on TB. Pixabay

More people received life-saving treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in 2018 than ever before, largely due to improved detection and diagnosis, however, severe under-funding and lack of access to care is still jeopardising around three million of those suffering with TB, a World Health Organization (WHO) report said.

According to report, the highest burden of TB in 2018 was in eight countries: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and South Africa.

Released on Thursday the report said, globally, seven million people were diagnosed and treated for TB — up from 6.4 million in 2017 — enabling the world to meet one of the milestones towards the UN political declaration targets on TB.

Also, 2018 saw a reduction in the number of TB deaths: 1.5 million people died from TB in 2018, down from 1.6 million in 2017. However, the burden remains high among low-income and marginalised populations: around 10 million people developed TB in 2018.

“Today we mark the passing of the first milestone in the effort to reach people who’ve been missing out on services to prevent and treat TB,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said in a statement.

“Sustained progress on TB will require strong health systems and better access to services. That means a renewed investment in primary health care and a commitment to universal health coverage,” Tedros added.

TB
Report says, More people received life-saving treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in 2018 than ever before, largely due to improved detection and diagnosis, however, severe under-funding and lack of access to care is still jeopardising around three million of those suffering with TB. Pixabay

Brazil, China, the Russian Federation and Zimbabwe, which all have high TB burdens, achieved treatment coverage levels of more than 80 per cent.

New WHO guidance aims to improve treatment of multidrug resistant TB, by shifting to fully oral regimens that are safer and more effective.

“WHO is working closely with countries, partners and civil society to accelerate the TB response,” said Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme.

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“Working across different sectors is key if we are to finally get the better of this terrible disease and save lives,” Kasaeva added. (IANS)