The GDNF Trial and Documentary

Last month the results of a five-year pioneering clinical study, examining the effects of GDNF on Parkinson’s, were published. Whilst the results were not clear cut, we believe they offer promising signs that GDNF may help to restore the brain cells damaged in Parkinson’s.
The trial was the subject of a major two-part BBC 2 documentary, supported by Parkinson’s UK, which followed its progress and some of the people with Parkinson’s who took part. It was very well received, with much admiration for the bravery of people with Parkinson’s who were involved.
You may have been contacted by someone who took part in the GDNF trial about some independent fundraising activity that is being done by a fellow trial participant to raise funds for a future GDNF trial. We wanted to let you know that this is not being undertaken on behalf of Parkinson’s UK, though we share their belief that GDNF has promise and are committed to exploring this further.
We are proud of what we’ve achieved so far and our role as lead funder, uniting charities, companies, universities and researchers to collaborate on this innovative trial. We want GDNF to move forward as quickly as possible.

In order to do this, we need to make sure that a future clinical trial addresses the questions raised by the findings and delivers definitive results. There are a huge number of factors to consider and finding the right route forward isn’t guaranteed. We’re currently looking at how we can take this forward and are currently working closely with partners and the Parkinson’s community, including those who were involved in the trial, to explore routes to further trials.

If you or your group members would like to find out more about how to support our work to progress GDNF, please visit A reminder that all local group funds being used to support Parkinson’s research must be transferred through Parkinson’s UK for them to administer. It’s important that local groups do not make their own payments to individuals, researchers or research institutions, as branches and support groups are legally part of Parkinson’s UK. All the research that Parkinson’s UK supports must go through our rigorous review process under the terms of our membership to the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) before funds can be awarded.

As a branch, we give a proportion of our annual excess income to Parkinson’s UK, part of which we request should go to research.