By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local researcher is showing promising results on an experimental drug to treat Parkinson’s Disease.

Thousands of Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year. It causes tremors, difficulty moving, slowness of speech and affects balance, and there is no cure.

Dr. Jay Schneider, professor of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital found injecting patients with a chemical normally found in the brain, called GM1 ganglioside, was effective.

“We saw that there was significant improvement in symptoms in the patients who started using the drug compared to the patients who were on the placebo,” Schneider says.

He says the drug also slowed the progression of the disease, which is exciting, because there are currently no medications which do that.

“Over a 2-1/2 year period, not only did we see an improvement in their symptoms,” Schneider says, “but the progression of their symptoms was so slow that they weren’t even back to where they were at baseline.”

Schneider says more and larger studies need to be done, and he’d like to see the medication delivered in a different way, perhaps in pill form.