Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

A new breakthrough has been made in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a deficiency of dopamine in the brain. One of the major issues in treating this disease is successfully transplanting transplanting dopamine into the brain without negative side affects. A new treatment that is in development is using stem cells and transplanting them through intranasal delivery. This method is non-invasive and stops the brain swelling, tissue trauma and other issues that can occur when the stem cells are transplanted surgically. This could be a very beneficial treatment for those suffering from this disease.

This study was done on rats that had been given Parkinson’s disease. The rat that had the procedure performed on them saw a 68% normal motor function. Besides this substantial find this procedure was more successful in getting the stem cell to the proper place in the brain. The stem cells transplanted also survived up two 6 months. This procedure would allow those suffering from this disease to have multiple treatments over time.

study can be found here

article can be found here

Posted by: Jessica Kusmirek


  1. This is very interesting article to know that there a beneficial cure for this Parkinson's disease. As the study has shown 68% of normal motor functions on the experiment on rats, it would be very beneficial on human to cure this disease by having dopamine transplanted in the brain. This would help many people that are suffering from this disease if they take a give themselves an opportunity to this newly found treatment. However, I have a question how on the dopamine becomes deficient in the brain that causes this disease? How does it become inactive, what causes this dopamine that becomes inactive?

    Posted by Arpita Patel

  2. I really really really like this article. This article has a personal meaning to me, my uncle died a few years back with Parkinson's. Parkinson's disease is a life crushing disease which there was no cure, but hopefully this stem cell transplant of dopamine would resolve the issue. One question I have is how involved would the procedure be to transplant stem cells into the brain. I understand it said there were no side-effects, but would this be surgery, and how often would it occur?

    Posted by Reed Allen

  3. This is fascinating! However, I'm curious about the mechanism and the specificity by which it acts, and especially so since it works in the brain, a region that, by all standards, is a frustration by anyone practicing medicine. To clarify, is the mechanism epigenetic or is it more of a conventional pharmaceutical drug?

    [Posted b Alexander Simolaris]

  4. I would really like to know more about how this new treatment works, such as whether these implanted stem cells are actually differentiating to take on the role of dopamine-releasing neurons. If so, I can see why that would indeed work. Maybe this has to do with adult neurogenesis, and if so, I am very interested in it. I am also curious as to whether the implanting process has been perfected on such a level that scientists can place these stem cells exactly where they want, or if that is an issue. I do not like the results in these rats, as a 68% success rate is not very impressive, and the FDA would chew this treatment up and spit it out if it were a drug. I also do not like how patients will have to get treatments every six months. These treatments involve stem cells being implanted in parts of the brain, and that seems risky, but even more risky if it must be done every six months. If that is the case, each patient as an individual would have to really way the possible pros and cons. I am however really interested to see where this study goes!

    Posted by Derek Melzar

  5. interesting. this neurodegenerative disorder of unknown cause affects nearly 5 million people worldwide. this is why there needs to be more and more research on this field, because there are way too many people suffering from it. stem cells have come in handy in many research and it is not surprising it came on again this time. I will deffinetly be keeping track of this research.

    Cleopatra Duque

  6. I'd be curious to see, as Alex and Derek mentioned, how it is that the addition of stem cells can counteract the diminished levels of dopamine in the brain. Whether these stem cells adopt a role of signaling hormone production, or possibly help in the repair of sections of the brain that have been impaired due to lowered levels of the hormone? With stem cells being used so prevalently within disease treatment and research, knowing the manner in which they are able to treat them seems equally as important.
    Although not directly related to this research, the use of methylene-blue has been shown to reduce Alzheimer's-like symptoms within mouse models. It is likely that the methylene-blue acts to reduce "tau and amyloid beta aggregates" which are suspected to be at least partly responsible for the symptoms of the disease. So whereas Parkinsons is caused by a lack of hormone proteins within the brain, Alzheimer's is likely to be a result of protein aggregation/build-up