A new gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease involving a genetically altered horse virus has achieved promising results in its first human tests, involving 15 patients.
Parkinson’s disease, which affects about 5 million people worldwide, is a neurological disease that affects patients’ movement. The main symptoms are involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body. It is caused by a gradual loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra.
Professor Nicholas Mazarakis, head of gene therapy at the Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, devised the treatment approach while working at biopharmaceutical company Oxford BioMedica in 1997.