The brain scan study confirms what Klein is feeling. Eidelberg explains that the scans prove the overactive movement network actually changed. He wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that treatment relaxed brain activity in the motor network, making a patient with severe over-activity look like a person with moderate or mild Parkinson's disease. And because patients only received the therapy on one side of their brains, the researchers used the untreated side as a control.
|Scans show that treatment relaxed abnormally high brain activity.|
"The network activity in the treated side went down while the other network in fact got worse over the period of time. It was as if the disease had progressed on one side of the brain, but not the other," says Eidelberg.
But just as important was to determine whether the gene therapy affected the thinking network — and results show it did not.
"We also wanted to take this out of the realm of the subjective assessments that are typically used in these kinds of circumstances and use modern technology with computing, and just modern imaging to make that determination independently. And this study was a big success, probably a landmark from that standpoint," adds Eidelberg.
Eidelberg and his colleagues plan to start their next clinical trial in early 2008. This will be a double-blind sham-operated placebo-controlled phase II gene therapy study. If the therapy proves beneficial, the group that received the placebo will be offered the therapy after the study ends.
Klein says that the medications that were ineffective before the operation now help him when symptoms increase.
"It's really incredible," Klein says. "I mean, no one can understand unless they had Parkinson's."
And, because he understands, he talks to others with the disease and offers his comfort and support.
"There's hope-- that there are people in the field of curing the disease that are becoming more successful in finding a cure," Klein says.
PUBLICATION: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 19, 2007
TITLE: Modulation of metabolic brain networks after subthalamic gene therapy for Parkinson's disease
AUTHORS: Andrew Feigin, Michael G. Kaplitt, Chengke Tang, Tanya Lin, Paul Mattis, Vijay Dhawan, Matthew J. During, and David Eidelberg
RESEARCH FUNDING: Neurologix, Inc.