This medical video focuses on how gene therapy is helping Parkinson's sufferers.
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Jennifer Matthews: At 58, Jean Erickson began noticing signs that something was very wrong. Jean Erickson: I would freeze. I would start to walk and then suddenly I couldn't walk anymore. Jennifer Matthews: Jean has Parkinson's disease, a neurologic condition that causes tremors. Like many patients, her medications stopped working properly, so she volunteered for a clinical trial on gene therapy. Chad Christine: The upper dots represented the tracks of the needles. Jennifer Matthews: With the new therapy, doctors insert needles in the head to infuse a virus that releases a gene deep in the brain. Chad Christine: Our gene therapy is one that is directed at replacing an enzyme that is lost as Parkinson's disease progresses. Jennifer Matthews: Jean is one of four people who have tried the therapy. So far, all the patients reported improvements and have not had to increase their meds. Chad Christine: We are delighted to observe that patients seem to be getting improvement from this low dose and are hopeful that even higher doses will be more effective. Jennifer Matthews: Jean hopes so, too. Jean Erickson: I can walk better. I can talk, my speech is better, eating in restaurants isn't as draining as it used to be. Jennifer Matthews: It took courage to be one of the first to try a new treatment. Jean says, she's glad she did. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.