On Thursday 7 December, our BRAIN Involve lead Dr Cheney Drew delivered a public lecture on the use of advanced therapies in Huntington’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
The lecture was part of the Science in Health public lecture series, hosted by the School of Medicine at Cardiff University. The free public lecture series welcomes a diverse audience, from the public and secondary school pupils to professionals.
In the lecture, Dr Drew spoke about how advanced therapies (ATMPs) can be used as an alternative to traditional drug therapies to treat neurodegenerative disease.
ATMPs fall into three main categories:
- Gene therapy: where a whole or small portion of a gene is inserted into the body
- Cell therapy: where cells are altered to treat and target disease, and
- Tissue engineering: where a combination of cells and tissue scaffolding are modified to enable tissue repair, regeneration or replacement in the body.
Clinical trials in ATMPs such as gene therapy and cell replacement therapy are currently underway to see if they are safe and effective to use in people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.
Dr Drew explained exactly how these therapies are used and what clinical trials research currently tells us about their effectiveness, safety and patient experience.
“Clinical trials can be really difficult for people to take part in. It’s really important that we not only monitor for outcome assessment and safety but also understand participant experiences and support their ability to advocate for future therapies.”