Science Today reports that researchers at Lund University and Karolinska Institutet have, in a first-in-human clinical study with twelve participating patients, applied a growth factor to the brain with the hope of preserving dopaminergic cells and fibres.
The growth factor, PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor), has previously demonstrated, in studies in animals with Parkinson-like symptoms, reparative effects on both neurons and nerve fibers, while also leading to improved motor skills.
The results of the current study in patients show that applying the growth factor does not cause any serious unresolvable side effects. Perhaps even more encouraging are the images of the patients’ brains, produced four months after the delivery of the growth factor.
Using a PET scanner, researchers have seen that in patients who received the growth factor the signalling of dopamine not only stayed at the same level, but even increased.
Gesine Paul, Olof Zachrisson, Andrea Varrone, Per Almqvist, Markus Jerling, Göran Lind, Stig Rehncrona, Bengt Linderoth, Hjalmar Bjartmarz, Lisa L. Shafer, Robert Coffey, Mikael Svensson, Katarina Jansson Mercer, Anton Forsberg, Christer Halldin, Per Svenningsson, Håkan Widner, Jonas Frisén, Sven Pålhagen, Anders Haegerstrand. Safety and tolerability of intracerebroventricular PDGF-BB in Parkinson’s disease patients. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2015; DOI: 10.1172/JCI79635