A HEXHAM woman is one of nine people featured in an upcoming two-part documentary on the BBC.

Vicki Dillon, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, was one of the first six people in the world to undergo a radical new treatment for the disease that sees a protein called glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) administered directly to the brain.

Vicki, who was diagnosed in 2007 at the age of 35, explained how she came to get on the trial.

“I knew the potential of what GDNF could do because I heard about a trial in America on Radio 4,” she said. “I heard a rumour that another trial was going to happen in Bristol, so I rang Southmead Hospital. I got to speak to the nurse in charge of recruitment. She said it was going ahead, with six people.

“They’d had six people, but one person wasn’t right so they invited me down. I felt like I’d won the golden ticket.”

Vicki was accepted on to the trial, which meant she had to undergo a traumatic eight-and-a-half-hour-long brain surgery that saw four catheters inserted deep into her brain, along with a titanium port behind her ear where the drug was administered.

Vicki explained: “This was the first time that drugs were given beyond the blood-brain barrier, so it was medical history in the making.”

Once the original six made it past the initial safety testing, the trial was expanded to 42 patients.

In 2012, Vicki became one of nine participants to be followed by BBC film-maker Jemima Harrison. Vicki added: “I wanted to be involved with the documentary as I know that research and public awareness are the only tools we have to eradicate this hideous disease.”

Part one of The Parkinson’s Drug Trial: A Miracle Cure? will be on BBC2 next Thursday at 9pm. The second episode the following week will reveal the results of the trial.