No happily ever after…yet. (GDNF documentary part 2)
Well the Disney ending we all hope for didn’t come to fruition. Quelle surprise!If the cure had been available the likelihood of this piece of ground-breaking good news being leaked and therefore taking Brexit off the top of the news cycle would be high. It would have been a welcome relief from Syria, knife crime, Trump’s latest gaff (Tim Apple) and whatever tragedy Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Omnishambles) is project managing to today. Nevertheless we should be thankful for the selfless attitude of the participants and Professor Steven Gill and Neurologist Doctor Alan Whone. It must be easy to feel like Sisyphus after all their endeavours. We must remember that if it was easy sinemet would not have been the gold standard for so long. In 1961, levodopa was first tried in PD patients. Since sinemet was first used in the treatment of PD the following things have happened:
The first men in space
The Berlin wall was constructed and demolished
England have won the world cup in football and rugby
MLK & JFK were assassinated
Princess Diana dies in car crash
9/11 & the London bombings
The average house price in London in 1961 was £2,530 while a pint of beer cost 8p and a loaf of bread 5p. This considerable problem isn’t rocket science but it does involve brain surgery. The blood vessels that are present in the brain are almost 100,000 miles in length.
Bryn, Vicki and Kay all had extraordinary reactions to GDNF which cannot be underestimated, although for this trio to go from cure to the shock of the relatively poor results of the study, must be an ungodly turmoil. I wonder if Bryn still goes to the bar? The destruction of hope must be difficult to cope with, having seen how a promising future may look like and to have it taken away again at swish of a pen in Groton, Connecticut must be overwhelming and difficult to resign themselves to. I wonder how many times they have googled ‘GDNF black market’.
The way forward
Well there appear to be very few simple solutions, there very rarely are. However, there are many people who have PD and this makes a cure profitable. The big pharma need to recognise this with some lobbying and put some large funds behind finding a solution, a £3 million project is frankly small beer with industry revenues running in the hundreds of billions. There is hope. The larger picture is more far reaching, our political choices both here in the UK & also in the US will have an immense impact on future potential solutions. Do we choose the right wing, low tax high personal responsibility of the Tories and the Republicans, or the tax and spend of the progressive left? Do we want research to be left predominantly to the profit hungry big pharma? Is it acceptable in the 21st century for your wealth to have a direct correlation to your health? The 45th President used tax cuts to fund a windfall for fellow billionaires, the NHS was recently led by a secretary of state who wrote a book chronicling how it should be dismantled. Will the big pharma based in the US provide money for research if they can find low hanging fruit elsewhere? Can the NHS fund research for PD when they are short of staff in A& E? The answer to these questions and how the electorates vote will determine the future research in to cures for PD. Don’t blame Pfizer, blame the system that allows Pfizer to flourish, the system which is allowing the CEO of Pfizer to earn more than $27 million a year and have a net worth of in excess of $131 million. Research is the key to the solution, with the limited funding the Bristol staff had, we didn’t have the key to the door or even the address.