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Parkinson's drug breakthrough offers new hope for treatment

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A pioneering treatment for Parkinson’s that had been shelved due to unpredictable side effects could be resumed following a new drug breakthrough.

Trials of an experimental treatment for the progressive neurological condition, which involved transplanting cells from aborted foetuses, were halted because some patients experienced dyskinesias, where the body is overcome by sporadic, involuntary movements.

However, the treatment could now be rekindled after researchers funded by the Medical Research Council and Imperial College London revealed that dyskinesias is caused by malfunctioning serotonin cells, which can be controlled with drugs.

The abandonment of the trials was met with disappointment after researchers witnessed a “remarkable improvement” in some patients’ symptoms.

Dr Marios Politis from MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Imperial College London, who led the research team, said: “We know that the benefits of this treatment could last up to 16 years, and we look forward to bringing this treatment one step closer to a reality for Parkinson’s patients.”

The research, published in Science Translational Medicine, revealed that although dyskinesias is a common side effect of regular Parkinson’s drugs, the patients that were involved in the experimental trials suffered the same effects when they had stopped taking their drugs.

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