Researchers have developed a new approach to using stem cells to treat Parkinson’s disease while avoiding the negative consequences of other stem cell therapies, according to two new studies.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of certain types of neurons in the brain. This negatively affects neuronal communication and makes the body unable to control movement. There is currently no cure for the disease, but several researchers have investigated the potential benefits of stem cell technology.
Stem cells can be stimulated to become the type of neurons affected by Parkinson’s and potentially be transplanted into the patient’s brain, where they would replace the dying neurons.
The scientists used computer-controlled bioreactors to multiply a type of human stem cells called mesenchymal stem cells,
which are found in bone marrow and cord tissue. The cells respond to the environment that surrounds them, and when injected into the brains of mice with Parkinson’s disease, successfully became mature neurons and allowed for the physical recovery of the animals.