A cure for Parkinson’s disease could be on the horizon after a research team was given permission to start the first ever human stem-cell trials. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition that destroys the brain cells producing the chemical messenger dopamine, in the part of the brain that controls movement. Scientists have so far struggled to make any significant advances in the pursuit of a cure, and treatments are limited to drugs which control symptoms. But with California-based International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) set to start clinical trials on 12 people with moderate to severe Parkinson’s Disease, there are hopes of a breakthrough.
During the trial, doctors will implant replacement brain cells, called neural precursor cells, into the patients’ brains. It is hoped these cells will finish maturing into the kind of neurons which are destroyed by the movement disorder. The trials, which are the first to be carried out on humans, will give participants varying doses of neural stem cells. Patients will then have their neurological condition monitored for 12 months to see how their brains and bodies react.
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