The International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) reported that the fourth and final patient of the first group in a clinical trial of stem cell transplants for Parkinson’s disease was able to successfully receive their transplant. Researchers are now prepping the next stage of the trial in which patients will receive a higher number of cells.
Thus far, researchers and scientists have not recorded any negative effects among the four patients who had neural stem cells transplanted into their brains. Pending a clinical trial success, this will show that stem cell therapy has the potential to regenerate lost and damaged nerve cells which could redefine how Parkinson’s disease is treated.
Russell Kern, PhD and executive vice president and chief scientific officer of ISCO, posited that the results were very encouraging.
12 patients, known to have moderate Parkinson’s disease, were expected to participate in the Phase 1 trial that launched in March 2016. They were divided into three groups of four and received increasing doses of neural stem cells. One of the main goals of the trial was to determine how safe it was and whether or not the trials could be pushed forward.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms usually appear when a large proportion of brain cells containing dopamine are already gone. And while treatments with added dopamine may improve symptoms, at least for some time, the treatment approach may result in dosing difficulties. There is also a general fear of drug dependency amongst those who are diagnosed with the disease. Luckily, if the trials progress as intended, they could show that regenerative medicine mostly eliminates the need for prescription medication. However, that day could still be a ways off due to the caution and care required of clinical trials.
With the initial successes, this beginning trial stands at the forefront of modern Parkinson’s treatment. While current medical treatments are focused mostly on symptom management, stem cell therapy can target dying neurons in the brain and work to help them survive. Along with the potential for brain cell regeneration, this could lead to a reversal of debilitating symptoms that are known to drastically impact a patient’s quality of life.
Though it’s far too early to label stem cell therapy a functional cure for Parkinson’s, the latest medical developments are generating a fair deal of excitement amongst members of the scientific and medical communities. Stem cell treatments have already shown a great deal of effectiveness in treating chronic pain conditions which leads experts to believe they could have the same effect on life-altering neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and MS.
Review from the news: First Dose Group in Parkinson’s Stem Cell Trial Successfully Transplanted
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