Study examines experimental Parkinson’s treatment

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An experimental gene therapy treatment for Parkinson’s disease is being tested in a national study that includes Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

CHICAGO (AP) — An experimental gene therapy treatment for Parkinson’s disease is being tested in a national study that includes Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center.

Rush is among 11 study sites and the only one in Illinois. The research involves a gene transfer product called CERE-120 that is being developed by Ceregene, Inc. It contains the gene for a protein known as a neurotrophic factor. Researchers hope the treatment will improve function and repair brain cells that degenerate because of Parkinson’s. Doctors inject the treatment during neurosurgery, and previous studies showed the drug was safe. Half of study participants will get the treatment. The other half will undergo a placebo surgery. The study is partly funded by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and is still enrolling patients. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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