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Parkinson’s Stem Cell Breakthrough

Clinical Hematopoietic Cell Processing Laboratory Achieves More Than Minimal Manipulation Accreditation From Fact

Breakthrough clinical trial could reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Peiman Hematti, MD, is the director of Clinical Hematopoietic Cell Processing Laboratory at UW-Madison. Much of his research is aimed at improving post-transplant immunological complications, such as graft-versus-host disease. But Hematti and his team are also working to develop and test new cellular therapies for cancer treatment.

His labs ability to do that took a giant step forward in late 2020 when they received word from FACT the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy that the lab had received certification to do more than minimal cell manipulation.

This is a big deal, Hematti said. We are the only lab on campus that has this accreditation, which is the culmination of years of working hard and proving that we can do it right and credit goes to our entire team and especially our senior cell therapy lab specialists.

Studies Show Promising Results

“Considering the ability of MSCs to secrete neurotrophic factors, modulate inflammation, and possibly even act as mitochondria âdonorâ, it comes as no surprise that there is a lot of interest in the use of MSCs in the treatment of Parkinsons Disease, and a multitude of animal studies has shown promise. Treatments have resulted in improvement of motor function, protection of the nigrostriatal system, and improved striatal dopamine release in several studies using toxic lesion rodent models of Parkinsons Disease. Similar effects were reported with umbilical cord-derived MSCs with or without prior differentiation. For example, a recent study reported improvement of motor function, reduced microglial activation, and decreased loss of TH immunoreactivity, associated with local production of trophic factors.

Individualized Brain Cell Grafts Reverse Parkinsons Symptoms In Monkeys

Grafting neurons grown from monkeys own cells into their brains relieved the debilitating movement and depression symptoms associated with Parkinsons disease, researchers at the University of WisconsinMadison reported today. In a study published in the journal Nature Medicine the UW team describes its success with neurons made from cells from the monkeys own bodies after reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells. UWMadison neuroscientist Su-Chun Zhang, whose Waisman Center lab grew the brain cells, said this approach avoided complications with the primates immune systems and takes an important step toward a treatment for millions of human Parkinsons patients. Learn more about their work here.March 1, 2021

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What Does This Mean For The Treatment Of Parkinsons Disease

Currently, stem cell treatment for Parkinsons disease has only been successfully tested on rats. However, this breakthrough has opened the door for clinical application in a matter of years, not decades.

According to Claire Bale, Head of Research Communications at Parkinsons UK:

“Stem cells carry real hope as a future treatment for the 127,000 people living with the condition in the UK. Parkinson’s UK has invested more than £3 million in cutting-edge stem cell research to help develop new and better treatments for Parkinson’s, faster.”

Scientists also warn that research into using stem cells to treat Parkinsons disease is still in its early days. There are challenges to stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease that must be resolved before they can be used clinically.

One obstacle many scientists face is that stem cells can divide indefinitely. This means that stem cells can become every cell in your body rather than just in the brain, making them difficult to harness. The upside to this is that scientists can create an indefinite amount of stem cells and roll them out to hundreds of thousands of patients and transplant them into the brain to replace dead dopamine cells. Another challenge will be keeping these stem cells alive for a long period.

In short, stem cell treatments will become available to people with Parkinson’s once they have been thoroughly tested and proven to be safe-.

What New Treatments Are Being Developed


Thanks to the progress we’ve already made, new treatments are being tested in clinical trials that have the potential to slow, stop or even reverse Parkinson’s.

These include:

And we’re developing treatments that aim to improve life with the condition, including new drugs that can reduce dyskinesia.

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Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

In 2007, the process for generating iPSCs was first reported, offering a new avenue for the development of a stem cell-based treatment for PD . iPSCs are generated by the reprogramming of an adult somatic cell into a stem cell, through the expression of a number of transcription factors that could induce pluripotency . The iPSCs derived in this way can be differentiated into dopaminergic neurons using protocols similar to those used with ESCs, which could serve as the basis of a useful cell-based treatment for PD . The potential advantage of iPSC-derived over ESC-derived grafts is that it would be possible to generate autologous grafts, by using a patients own fibroblasts to produce a neural grafting product, negating the requirement for immunosuppression that will be necessary with ESC-derived grafts. However, there are other biological and logistical challenges faced with the iPSC approach, which are discussed below.

iPSC-derived neural grafts have been trialed in primates with MPTP-induced nigral toxicity, with promising results . The neural progenitors grafted ultimately extended neurites into the striatum, did not form any tumors, and resulted in improved motor function at two years. As with the ESC-approach, clinical trials in humans are on the horizon and will begin in the next couple of years .

Want To Know More Heres How You Can Get Involved

If you want to get involved in stem cell research, you can register to participate in a clinical trial. Trials desperately need Parkinsons subjects, and many lack the funding they need. If you can help at all, visit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research website and use the Fox Trial Finder to search for opportunities in your area. There is no obligation once youve registered your details, and if you have any questions about treating Parkinson’s disease with stem cells or any other clinical trials, there are plenty of helpful trial FAQs on the website.

APA ReferenceSmith, E. . Could Stem Cell Treatment for Parkinsons Disease Be the Holy Grail?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, July 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/parkinsons-disease/treatment/could-stem-cell-treatment-for-parkinsons-disease-be-the-holy-grail

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Will This Stem Cell Breakthrough Spell The End Of Parkinsons Were About To Find Out

Last year, Jette Oppelstrup, 49, invested in a bathroom on the ground floor of her townhouse in Herlev, a suburb of Copenhagen. In the bottom-left corner of the mirror above her sink in the new bathroom are two stickers that read: FUCK PARKINSON, NEVER GIVE UP.

Oppelstrup was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease in 2017. The disease rarely strikes people under the age of 60, and is best known for afflicting people with visible tremors on their hands and slowing their movement. In the future, she may not be able to walk upstairs to her old bathroom as often as nature calls.

But for people living with Parkinsons today, contrary to just a decade ago, the phrase never give up is no longer just a motivational saying. A new Parkinsons treatment that uses stem cells to artificially create new dopamine-producing nerve cells is expected to enter clinical trials on human patients later this year. Because of the long course of Parkinsons, many patients who receive a diagnosis today may live long enough to be eligible for this kind of treatment and find their lives spared from the harsh advanced stages of the diseaseand perhaps see their motor function restored.

That is, of course, if the treatment is successful.

The mirror in Jette Oppelstrups bathroom that reads “FUCK PARKINSON NEVER GIVE UP.”

Designer Neurons Offer New Hope For Treatment Of Parkinson’s Disease

Stem Cell Breakthrough
Arizona State University
Scientists describe a process for converting non-neuronal cells into functioning neurons able to take up residence in the brain, send out their fibrous branches across neural tissue, form synapses, dispense dopamine and restore capacities undermined by Parkinson’s destruction of dopaminergic cells.

Neurodegenerative diseases damage and destroy neurons, ravaging both mental and physical health. Parkinson’s disease, which affects over 10 million people worldwide, is no exception. The most obvious symptoms of Parkinson’s disease arise after the illness damages a specific class of neuron located in the midbrain. The effect is to rob the brain of dopamine — a key neurotransmitter produced by the affected neurons.

In new research, Jeffrey Kordower and his colleagues describe a process for converting non-neuronal cells into functioning neurons able to take up residence in the brain, send out their fibrous branches across neural tissue, form synapses, dispense dopamine and restore capacities undermined by Parkinson’s destruction of dopaminergic cells.

The current proof-of-concept study reveals that one group of experimentally engineered cells performs optimally in terms of survival, growth, neural connectivity, and dopamine production, when implanted in the brains of rats. The study demonstrates that the result of such neural grafts is to effectively reverse motor symptoms due to Parkinson’s disease.

New perspectives on Parkinson’s disease

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Uw Study Finds Photoreceptor Cells From Retinal Organoids Can Replicate Key Functions Of Vision

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have successfully shown that a retinal cell type derived from human pluripotent stem cells is capable of the complex process of detecting light and converting that signal to electrical waves. Co-author and Stem Cell Center member, Dr. Gamm noted, The more we can push retina organoids to perform at a high level in a dish, the more confidence we have that they may help patients with blinding disorders. So, its a big leap in human pluripotent stem cell technology in terms of its applications to retinal disease.

February 2, 2022SMPH News

The Reality Of Stem Cell Treatments For Parkinsons Disease

There have been several exciting stem cell innovations targeting Parkinsonâs in recent years that, on the surface, are reminiscent of Greyâs Anatomyâs televised âcure.â

In 2017 and 2018, for instance, doctors reprogrammed skin cells taken from a person with Parkinsonâs to create âreplacement dopamine neurons,” which got implanted into the personâs brain. More recently, a clinical trial involved injecting stem cells into the brains of people with Parkinson’s in order to restore their dopamine levels, complete with a GPS-like brain scan showing neurosurgeons where to inject the cells. Upcoming clinical trials will also use Parkinsonâs patientsâ skin cells to produce replacement dopamine neurons for transplantation.

But such treatments wonât necessarily be widely available anytime soon, according to Kasoff. “Cell transplantation is incredibly difficult and complicated,â he says. âIt’s been worked on for decades, and it’s still early, early research trials. So even that kind of therapy is likely years and years away.â

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Parkinson’s Disease Breakthrough: Stem Cells May Replace Damaged Nerves Reverse Symptoms

Parkinsons disease patients can find hope in a new treatment, thanks to breakthrough stem cell research that successfully replaces damaged nerves. Swedish researchers have figured out how to create motor neurons that become lost in the brains of Parkinsons disease patients. They published their findings in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Researchers from Lund University took human embryonic stem cells from in vitro fertilization embryos and grew them into motor neurons. The neurons were transplanted into the brains of rats with Parkinsons disease, and over the course of five months, their dopamine levels rose back to normal. There are currently one million individuals living with Parkinsons disease in the United States, and 96 percent of them were diagnosed after the age of 50.

Parkinsons is an incurable progressive disease that takes over your body, rendering you without control, according to the Parkinsons Disease Foundation. It affects the nervous system and movement, causing tremors, stiffness, slow movements, impaired posture and balance, speech changes, and other life-changing symptoms. This tumbling loss of motor skills is partially caused by the death of nerve cells that control dopamine in the brain. Researchers dont know exactly why the chemical messenger begins to die, but once dopamine levels decrease, the brain loses the ability to regulate critical muscle movements.

What Will A Cure For Parkinson’s Look Like


Parkinson’s varies so much from person to person. There are over 40 symptoms of Parkinsons. Tremor. Pain. Hallucinations. Everyones experience is different.

Because of this, there may not be a single ‘cure’.

Instead, we may need a range of different therapies to meet the needs of the individual and their specific form of the condition.

This mix may include treatments, therapies and strategies that can:

  • slow or stop the progression of the condition
  • replace or repair lost or damaged brain cells
  • control and manage particular symptoms
  • diagnose Parkinson’s at the earliest possible stage.

And this could involve medical treatments, such as drugs and surgical approaches, as well as lifestyle changes, for example to diet and exercise.

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Could Stem Cell Treatment For Parkinsons Disease Be The Holy Grail

According to scientists, treating Parkinsons disease with stem cells takes us one step closer to a cure. This signals a major breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. We know that clinical trials are taking place all over the world to test out the validity of these claims, but could stem cell treatment for Parkinsons disease really be the holy grail everyone assumes it is? And are there possible risks and challenges? Lets explore the facts around treating Parkinsons disease with stem cells and find out if it’s possible.

What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Stem cells are the body’s raw materials â cells from which all other cells with specialized functions are created. Mesenchymal stem cells are adult stem cells that have self-renewal, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, signaling, and differentiation properties. Mesenchymal stem cells , self renewal capacity is characterized by their ability to divide and develop into multiple specialized cell types present in a specific tissue or organ.

Mesenchymal stem cells can be sourced from a variety of tissue including adipose tissue , bone marrow, umbilical cord tissue, blood, liver, dental pulp, and skin.

MSCs are widely used in the treatment of various diseases due to their self-renewable, differentiation, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. In-vitro and in-vivo studies have supported the understanding mechanisms, safety, and efficacy of MSC therapy in clinical applications.

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Next Step Is To Prepare For Human Clinical Trials

These cells have the same ability as the brains normal dopamine cells to not only reach, but also to connect to their target area over longer distances. This has been our goal for some time, and the next step is to produce the same cells under the necessary regulations for human use.

The team hopes the new cells will be ready for testing in human trials in about 3 years.

The authors note that their study shows strong preclinical support for using dopamine cells made from human embryonic stem cells, using approaches similar to those established with fetal cells for the treatment of Parkinsons disease.

There has been some success with using fetal cells, but these are harder to source and there are ethical concerns about taking tissue from aborted fetuses.

The study was conducted at Lund University and MIRCen in Paris, France, as part of the European Union networks NeuroStemCell and NeuroStemcellRepair.

Meanwhile, Medical News Today recently learned that Harvard scientists found stem cells that release cancer-killing toxins may offer a new way to treat brain tumors.

High Hopes Realistic Expectations

Japan scientists claim stem cell breakthrough

Still, although theres quite a bit of hope about what the new stem cell treatment could do for patients and their families alike, theres a history of new therapies petering out during rigorous testing.

It happens very rarely that we actually cure an illness, Ray Dorsey, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, told The Daily Beast. A lot more often we find a way to prevent them. Think about what it takes to cure someone with Parkinsons after half of their nerve cells have died. I just think we need to take a cool, rational look at this and say that thats really hard to do.

And while we have a clear picture of the dopamine connection, we have very little understanding about exactly why nerve cells will start to produce less dopamine in certain people. Age is obviously a big correlation, and some research has pointed to associations with the use of certain pesticides and metals due to the disproportionately high number of rural inhabitants who come down with Parkinsons. Some scientists speculate that if we lived long enough, all humans would eventually develop Parkinsons since cells begin to die due to old age.

Karin Christiansen, 57, and her husband Keld Hansen, 65, live in Odense, Denmarks third-largest city. In 2018, Karin was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease after several years of living with symptoms, including strong pain in the right leg and having a hard time keeping balance.

Karin Christiansen and her husband Keld Hansen.

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The Future Of Stem Cell Therapy For Parkinsons

Four groups dedicated to using stem cell therapies to treat Parkinsons disease have formed an international consortium known as G Force PD. Each of the four centers is planning a clinical trial to start in the next 1-4 years. They differ on the source of stem cells that they will be using . All will be injecting the cells directly into the basal ganglia part of the brain where the ends of the dopamine producing neurons live. The Parkinsons community eagerly awaits the implementation of these trials.

When open for enrollment, should I consider participating in a stem cell trial?When faced with an illness like PD, you can at times feel that it is worthwhile to try anything that may lead to a cure. Its important to always make sure however, that youre dealing with trusted information, proven therapies, and clinical trials that have been properly vetted by the medical community.

Therefore, in order to use clinicaltrials.gov safely, focus on the trials conducted at academic medical centers in the United States. Once you have identified a trial that you might be interested in, talk it over with your doctor before committing to anything.

Be aware that a clinical trial utilizing stem cells will likely require the cells to be injected directly into the brain, which will inevitably be associated with a certain amount of risk. You will need to discuss details of this risk with your doctor and the trial organizers.


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