Moving toward improved cell replacement therapy for Parkinson's disease

June 17, 2014

Parkinson's disease, which affects millions worldwide, results from neuron loss. Transplantation of fetal tissue to restore this loss has shown promise, but ethical concerns over acquiring this tissue limit its use.

In a June 17 study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vania Broccoli and others at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute converted fibroblasts into neurons and engrafted them into the brains of rodents with parkinsonism.

The cells improved motor function, but not as well as transplanted rat fetal tissues. The authors then used a technology that allows the neurons to express engineered proteins, which respond to a specific drug to regulate neuronal activity. These neurons restored almost as well as rat .

An accompanying article discusses how this study potentially provides a promising source of replacement neurons in Parkinson's disease.

More information: Remote control of induced dopaminergic neurons in parkinsonian rats, Journal of Clinical Investigation, DOI: 10.1172/JCI74664

Related Stories

Is Parkinson's an autoimmune disease?

April 17, 2014

The cause of neuronal death in Parkinson's disease is still unknown, but a new study proposes that neurons may be mistaken for foreign invaders and killed by the person's own immune system, similar to the way autoimmune diseases ...

Recommended for you

Tackling Parkinson's with targeted therapeutic vaccines

December 24, 2014

Clinical trials are about to begin on a new Parkinson's disease vaccine that could offer patients significant improvements over current treatments. The vaccine, developed through the FP7-funded SYMPATH project, may actually ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.