Trial raises Parkinson’s therapy hope

by | Sep 4, 2017 | Health, News

Scientists have restored nerve cells destroyed by a condition similar to Parkinson’s disease, in monkeys.

The Japanese team hope their work could lead to stem cell trials in human patients before the end of 2018. Parkinson’s disease causes the progressive loss of nerve cells that release dopamine, a chemical that helps control body movement. The researchers triggered a similar loss of cells in macaque monkeys, then used human stem cells to replace them. The animals showed significant improvement in their symptoms two years after having precursor dopamine neurons derived from human stem cells transplanted into their brains. These cells – known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – are created by genetically reprogramming ordinary adult cells, so that they revert to an embryonic-like state. In this state, they can then be coaxed to develop into many different adult cell types – in the case of this experiment, dopamine neurons. BBC News