An article published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease says newly developed stem cell technologies show great promise in treating the disease over the next two decades.
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease worldwide and is currently without a cure. Dopamine-modulating therapies are the most commonly used PD treatments today but have significant limitations and side effects. The authors of this study analyzed how stem cell technology can be applied to Parkinson’s and how researchers are translating this into clinical trials.
“We are in desperate need of a better way of helping people with PD. It is on the increase worldwide. There is still no cure, and medications only go part way to fully treat incoordination and movement problems,” explained co-authors Claire Henchcliffe, MD, DPhil, from the Department of Neurology, Weill Cornell Medical College; and Malin Parmar, PhD, from the Wallenberg Neuroscience Center and Lund Stem Cell Center in Sweden.
“We are moving into a very exciting era for stem cell therapy,” said Dr. Parmar. “The first-generation cells are now being trialed and new advances in stem cell biology and genetic engineering promise even better cells and therapies in the future.”
The doctors note there are several research groups, including their own, moving toward testing stem cell therapies for Parkinson’s and are hopeful they will be able to use different kinds of cells to treat different symptoms of the disease in the future. Stem cell technologies show promise for alleviating some of the motor symptoms of PD.
“The coming two decades might also see even greater advances in stem cell engineering with stem cells that are tailor-made for specific patients or patient groups,” said Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, Van Andel Research Institute; and J. William Langston, MD, Stanford Udall Center, Department of Pathology, Stanford University–Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
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