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Parkinson\'s Disease Reversed in Rat Models

A joint team of researchers from Republic of Korea (Hanyang University) and the U.S. (Harvard Medical School) has studied the potential of different cells derived from human stem cells to cure Parkinson’s in rat models. The scientists have also identified the stem cell type that might be effective in treating the disease.

Conventional treatment methods cannot stop the progressive loss of special type of nerve cells in Parkinson’s patients— they can only mitigate the symptoms. That is why stem cell treatment of Parkinson’s is paid more and more attention as it can reverse the disease because of stem cells’ ability to form new nerve cells.

As of now, two types of stem cells are considered for the disease treatment. These are embryonic stem cells derived from embryos and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) derived from adult cells via their reprogramming. Both these cell types are able to form the wide range of specialized cells.

The researchers concentrated on induced pluripotent stem cells. They compared iPS reprogrammed by the direct transfer of proteins into these cells with those reprogrammed by transfer with the use of viruses. They found that application of the latter brought several problems, while the former cells could reverse the disease after they were transplanted into the animal brain. The researchers believe that protein-based iPS can be used in Parkinson’s treatment.