A team of scientists led by The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute successfully created a human stem cell disease model of Parkinson’s disease in a dish. Studying a pair of identical (monozygotic) twins, one affected and one unaffected with Parkinson’s disease, another unrelated Parkinson’s patient, and four healthy control subjects, the scientists were able to observe key features of the disease in the laboratory, specifically differences in the patients’ neurons’ ability to produce dopamine, the molecule that is deficient in Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the scientists also identified a potential strategy for developing novel therapies for Parkinson’s disease.
In this particular scenario, genetic and stem cell analysis identified an avenue for a potentially useful combination therapy for the twin affected by Parkinson’s disease and may be applicable more broadly to other Parkinson’s patients. While this case study is unique, this type of research and cellular analysis could yield further clues to all cases of genetic and sporadic Parkinson’s disease and other related neurological disorders.
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