Japan approves clinical trials of using reprogrammed stem cells for Parkinson’s diseases. This is the first clinical trial that uses induced Pluripotent Stem (Ips) Cells to treat Parkinson’s.
Cellular Reprogramming allows converting any type of cell in the body into fully functional stem cells known as induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs).
iPSCs cells have similar abilities as embryonic stem cells and can fix various health problems.
Now Japanese researchers begin clinical trials using iPS cells to treat Parkinson’s diseases.
Parkinson is a neuro degenerative disease caused by the death of specialized cells in the brain. These specialized cells are responsible for producing the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Dopamine plays an important role in regulating our movements. A lack of dopamine leads to a decline in motor skills which results in involuntary trembling and causes difficulty in walking as the disease progresses it can lead to dementia.
Using cellular reprogramming researchers can coax iPS cells from healthy donors into dopamine producing brain cells.
Researchers are planning to inject 5 million stem cells into the forebrain of patients.
Patients’ condition will be monitored for 2 years after the operation.
Reprogrammed stem cell therapy in animal trials has been successful. Studies in animal have shown that the induced pluripotent stem cells differentiated into dopamine producing neurons and fused into the animal’s brain.
After getting injection of neurons prepared from human iPS cells monkey models of Parkinson’s diseases showed significant improvement last for 2 years.
Rather than make patient-specific iPS cells, CiRA has adopted the strategy of deriving stocks of iPS cells from healthy donors with specific cell types that are less likely to cause immune rejection.
“Using stocks of cells, we can proceed much more quickly and cost-effectively,” CiRA Director Shinya Yamanaka, who won a share of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2012 for discovering how to create iPS cells. As an added precaution, the patients will receive a common immunosuppressant in tandem with the progenitors.
The team plans to recruit seven patients and follow them for 2 years post injection.
The new stem cell treatment aims to actively reverse the disease.
This is the third human trial using iPS cells to be approved in Japan. The First trail used iPS derived retinal cells to treat age related macular degeneration a condition that can lead to complete blindness.
A team of Japanese researchers also received approval to treat ischemic heart disease using iPS cells
Reference: Kyoto University Hospital
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