Stem Cells safe and effective in treatment for arthritis of the knee
Source: Orion Pharma
It is caused by the loss of brain cells (neurones) in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which produces the chemical messenger dopamine. As the cells die, less dopamine is produced and transported to the striatum, the area of the brain that co-ordinates movement. Symptoms develop when about 80% of dopamine has been lost.
The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known.
Approximately 4 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Around 127,000 people in the UK have the condition.
Whilst there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, treatments can help control the symptoms and maintain quality of life.
The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease increases with age. Symptoms usually occur after the age of 50. Around 1 in 20 people are diagnosed under the age of 40 years.
In recent years breakthroughs in stem cell therapies have begun to offer some insights into potential areas of treatment.
Parkinson’s UK has directly invested more than £3million in cutting-edge stem cell research, which they believe holds great potential. This includes a trial with the California-based International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) which is conducting a clinical trial on 12 people with moderate to severe Parkinson’s Disease.
During the trial, doctors will implant replacement brain cells, called neural precursor cells, into the patients’ brains.
It is hoped these cells will finish maturing into the kind of neurons which are destroyed by the movement disorder.
Commenting on this trial, Claire Bale, Head of Research Communications at Parkinson’s UK, said;
‘Stem cells carry real hope as a future treatment for the 127,000 people living with the condition in the UK.’
‘With all clinical trials, ensuring that the treatment is safe and effective is paramount and along with the international research community we will be watching the progress of the trial very closely. If successful this could be the beginning to further, much larger studies with stem cells – taking us closer to a new potential treatment for Parkinson’s.’
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