Sheila Roy says she can finally enjoy life at her countryside home in Cambridge. She's lived with Parkinson's disease for 17 years - but a team of Oxford University scientists developed a treatment that changed her life.
She is one of only 15 people in the world to take part in a gene therapy experiment. Scientists create and inject a virus into the brain. The shot jump-starts the production of dopamine - the chemical patients need to fight Parkinson's. Without dopamine, Parkinson's sufferers often shake - and can't control their movements.
Doctor Philip Buttery of Cambridge Center for Brain Repair explains, " In principle, it should give patients a better quality of life through their day - because of less ups and downs during the day. "
Researchers spent years in the lab testing the treatment on animals - including mice - injecting medicine into their brains. Once they had success - scientists began trying the treatment on a small number of people. Doctors say more studies - involving hundreds of patients - will be needed to prove the treatment is safe and works long term.
Sheila knows it's not a 'cure' but says she feels ten years younger. Other gene therapy experiments are happening United States, but the British experiment is the first treatment in the world that generates dopamine in a patient's brain.