Researchers develop injectable hydrogel to combat Parkinson’s

pharmafile | August 10, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development  

An Australian research team has developed a hydrogel that can be used as a one-off intervention to treat Parkinson’s disease, and possibly other neurological conditions.

The gel consists of amino acids which can be injected into the brain to help restore damage, and has been developed by the Australian National University, in collaboration with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.

When the hydrogel is shaken, it transforms into a liquid making it easier to be injected into the brain through a small capillary. The gel then reverts to its solid form, filling up irregularly shaped voids and helping to safely transport replacement stem cells to injured parts of the brain.

Speaking to Reuters, Professor David Nisbet from Australian National University, said: “The real game-changer here is it’s sort of a one-off intervention.

“Foreseeably, a patient would come to the hospital presenting with Parkinson’s disease and they would just need this sort of one intervention to potentially alleviate many of their symptoms for years to come.”

So far the gel has only been tested on animal subjects, and been effective in combating movement disorders of Parkinson’s disease in rats. Nisbet hopes clinical trials will start in the next five years, after the gel has proven safe for human use.

Nisbet added the hydrogel was also relatively cheap to produce and could be scaled up to mass production relatively easily once the materials were approved for clinical use.

Parkinson’s is a brain disorder that causes shaking and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination, and worsens over time. The gel could also be used to help people who have suffered from other neurological conditions such as strokes.

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s and around 10 million people suffer from the condition globally.

Kat Jenkins

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