Drug allegedly withdrawn from patient

Sept. 12, 2005 at 11:18 AM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A clinical trial drug apparently worked for a Parkinson 's disease patient but its maker allegedly decided to take it away from him, reports CBS Television.

The report, aired Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes," said one-time marathoner Bob Suthers' Parkinson's symptoms became so acute he agreed to try out a new drug, GDNF made by Amgen.

Suthers and his doctor said GDNF was looking like a breakthrough when Amgen took it away, the report said.

Suthers, who has been off GDNF for about a year, says his health has returned to where it was before he got the drug.

Amgen said it became a safety issue after an animal study showed some monkeys on large doses of GDNF developed lesions on their brains.

The company said the drug didn't work. It said results showed that after six months, patients in Suthers' trial showed no clinical improvement. Amgen said bioethicist Arthur Caplan told the company its decision was justified on ethical grounds.

But the CBS report said patients in another trial were on GDNF for up to two years and reported favorable results.

Some patients reportedly are trying through the courts to get back on the drug.

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