Parkinson’s disease patients can find hope in a new treatment, thanks to stem cell research that successfully replaces damaged nerves. Swedish researchers have figured out how to create neurons that become lost in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients. They published their findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell.
Carried out under the leadership of Malin Parmar of Lund Univerity, a member of the European consortia NeuroStemcell, the study reports an important experimental novelty in regenerative medicine strategies. This could pave the way to the clinical application of stem cells in patients with Parkinson’s Disease.
In the study, researchers took human embryonic stem cells (hESC) from in vitro fertilization embryos and grew them into motor neurons. The neurons were transplanted into the brains of rats with Parkinson’s disease, and over the course of five months, their dopamine levels rose back to normal.
The study showed that these new neurons are capable of mimicking the features of damaged neurons as well as connecting to neurons of the host brain through a dense network of branches reaching target brain areas. This discovery can open new perspectives for the future development of innovative treatments of this and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s Disease.