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The Parkinson's Drug Trial: A Miracle Cure? – BBC2

The Parkinson's Trial: A Miracle Cure?
(Image credit: BBC/Passionate Productions)

The Parkinson's Drug Trial is a two-part documentary filmed over six years following a group of volunteers with the disease as they take part in a pioneering trial

Could a pioneering drug trial give hope to millions of Parkinson's sufferers?

An estimated 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s, and there is currently no cure for the degenerative disease.

This no-holds barred, and very moving, two-part film follows 42 British sufferers, including Tom Isaaacs (pictured above), 44, who was diagnosed at 27, Cornish artist Kay Cotton, 57, and dad-of-two Bryn Williams, 42, who have volunteered to take part in a ground-breaking trial testing a drug called GDNF.

Filmed over six years, tonight’s episode sees the volunteers undergo complex brain surgery as the drug is administered directly through the skull.

While some volunteers begin to experience positive change, for others there are disappointments and unexpected setbacks.

TV Times rating: *****

The Parkinson's Trial: A Miracle Cure?

Volunteer Bryn Williams goes fort his first infusion (Image credit: BBC/Passionate Productions)

Here, Bryn tells TV Times his story…

The trial involved having surgery so that a new drug, GDNF, could be administered into your brain. That must have been very scary…

At the time, people often said to me, ‘Are you frightened?’ I wasn’t.

The chance to be part of a trial that could truly shift medicine doesn’t come along often.

I don’t want to be trembling away, unable to function, having to be cleaned. Whatever it takes to stop that happening, I’ll do.

What improvements did you experience when taking GDNF?

You often get this blank look when you have Parkinson’s, but I could move my face again. My hands also became still. I noticed I was driving my car using my right hand again.

Sadly, I had to stop taking the drug after nine months when the portal in my brain got blocked.

It was soul-destroying because I felt I’d been making good progress.

How do you feel about the trial?

For me it was incredible and offered genuine hope.

I learnt about GDNF when I was first diagnosed and it was the big unknown at that point. We don’t have the definitive answer yet, but I know what I think and what all the other participants think: it worked.