According to scientists in Sweden Stem cells can be used to heal the damage which has been caused due to Parkinson’s disease. The study has been concluded on rats and has been dubbed as a revolutionary breakthrough towards developing effective treatments. Parkinson Disease has no cure but there is hope with medication and brain stimulation.
Parkinson is a degenerative condition of the central nervous system and affects an estimated 7 to 10 million people worldwide. Many important personalities have succumbed to this disease including Actor Michael J. Fox and Google co-founder Sergey Brin has a gene that makes him susceptible to the disease. Both Sergey and Michael J. Fox has raised awareness of the disease and have also contributed millions of dollars for advance research.
Parkinson is caused by the deficiency of dopamine producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is vital in regulating movements and emotions. Researchers at the Lund University discovered that when they converted human embryonic stem cells into neurons that produce dopamine and injected them into the brains of rats, something incredible happened. The damage caused by the Parkinson Disease was reversed.
The study was conducted under the aegis of Lund University and MIRCen in Paris, France. It is a part of the European Union networks NeuroStemCell and NeuroStemcellRepair.
However the scientists are quick to point out that there are number of crucial issues which needs to be addressed before the treatment could be started in humans. The biggest question is, if the cells continue to work the way they are supposed to over longer time periods
Human embryonic stem cells are precursor cells. Stem cells have potential to become any cell of the body and could be a promising source of new dopamine cells. However there are issues and they have proved to be complex to be used for the purpose.
Study was led by Malin Parmar, associate professor in Lund’s Department of Medicine. Malin Parmar and colleagues study has been published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.