Potential New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment

20 Feb

With a family interest in PD, the recent publication of this study makes for encouraging reading. It’s still early days, but it’s exciting to see new ethically robust research which may hold some promise for the future.

Scientists have published a paper in a medical journal describing the results of the world’s first clinical trial using autologous neural stem cells for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. A leading bioethics watchdog says the results show more money should be put behind adult stem cells.

UCLA researchers published their results in February issue of the Bentham Open Stem Cell Journal which outlines the long term results of the trial.

“We have documented the first successful adult neural stem cell transplantation to reverse the effects of Parkinson’s disease and demonstrated the long term safety and therapeutic effects of this approach,” says lead author Dr. Michel Levesque.

The paper describes how Levesque’s team was able to isolate patient-derived neural stem cells, multiply them in vitro and ultimately differentiate them to produce mature neurons before they are reintroduced into the brain.
The team was able to inject the adult stem cells without the need for immunosuppressants. Unlike embryonic stem cells, adult stem cell injections don’t cause a patient’s immune system to reject the cells. The adult stem cells were highly beneficial for the patient involved in the study. “Of particular note are the striking results this study yielded — for the five years following the procedure the patient’s motor scales improved by over 80% for at least 36 months,” Levesque wrote. He said he hoped a larger clinical trial would replicate the findings. (Click here for full article)

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