New stem cell technique hopes to replace damaged cells in Parkinson's

Drs Clare Parish and Lachlan Thompson of  the Florey Neuroscience Institutes and the University of Melbourne, lead a research study in which Doctors have reached upon a new , improved way of treating Parkinson's Disease. They hope to use 'stem cells' to replace the damaged brain cells, responsible for the disease.

"Stem Cells Australia will not only play a major role in leading Australian research into stem cell science, it will help the Australian community to understand the impact of scientific breakthroughs in this fast-paced and fascinating field", said Internationally renowned stem cell expert Professor Martin Pera.

In Parkinson's disease, basically dopamine production is inhibited (see SDT article) , which causes problems for brain configuring certain actions. The new stem cells will replace the cells producing dopamine.

"By following what we know about brain development we have been able to re-create an environment in the culture dish that allows us to generate specific cell types that may be therapeutic..."A limitation of the procedure, however, is that it is inefficient. This means that only around 30 per cent of the cells become dopamine brain cells while the others may remain as stem cells. This poses significant risks in a transplantation setting because the stem cells may continue to grow and form tumours,..."Overall we have identified some interesting findings that help us to isolate the dopamine brain cells and discard the stem cells prior to transplantation,"", told the doctors.



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