What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive, and frightening neurological condition. It’s estimated that almost a million people in the US are afflicted by Parkinson’s disease. Researchers are baffled by what causes the disease and, although the cure is still unknown, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery that can manage your symptoms.
With today’s advanced technology and continuous research performed by scientists and groups of doctors, new treatments are now giving hope to patients who suffer from Parkinson’s. Stem Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s disease is being studied for its efficiency in improving complications caused by the disease through the use of a patient’s own stem cells. These types of procedures may help patients who don’t respond to regular drugs or medical treatment, as well as those who want to reduce their dependency on medication or are simply looking to try an alternative treatment.
Treating Parkinson’s With Stem Cells
Researchers are already using stem cells for Parkinson’s by growing dopamine-producing nerve cells in a laboratory setting so they can better study the disease. Dopamine is a chemical that relays messages between the substantia nigraand other parts of the brain to control movements of the human body. Dopamine helps humans to have smooth, coordinated muscle movements. Growing dopamine-producing nerve cells is proving to be a viable potential stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s by replacing lost nerve cells with healthy new ones.
The Challenges of Treatment
As per researchers, Stem Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s is not yet fully ready for use in patients and additional clinical trials will be required. For now, the main challenges for researchers and scientists are:
Identifying the type of cells that have the most potential for research and new treatments. Currently, researchers have had the most success making dopamine-producing neurons from embryonic stem cells, but it is not yet clear whether the lab-grown neurons are close enough to naturally produced nigra neurons to succeed as therapeutic stem cell solutions.
Finding out how to grow neurons in sufficient quantities and at high enough safety standards to treat patients.
Establishing exactly how and where to transplant the cells so that they work properly in the brain without causing any side effects.
Who’s Doing the Research?
Research teams around the globe are working to develop stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s disease. The common goal is to identify which stem cells are best-suited for the job and to know which signals will coax them into becoming dopamine neurons. In addition, finding ways to ramp up the production of the required cells will be necessary. One of the key contributions to international research on Parkinson’s is the Halifax Protocol for injecting cells safely into the human brain. Researchers across Canada collaborated to develop this protocol and it is now widely recognized by neurosurgeons as the international standard for safe and effective brain repair using cell implantation. New surgical instruments for implanting stem cells safely into the human brain, such as the computerized Halifax Injector System, have also been developed in Canada.
Learn More About Stem Cell Therapy
Stem Cell Therapy Revolutionizes Parkinson’s Treatment
Learn about a new study from The International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) which is discovering how Stem Cells may be used to treat Parkinson’s!