Stem cells offer the greatest potential in any area of medicine to treat some of humanity’s most devastating and debilitating conditions. These include; Parkinson’s disease; spinal cord injury; heart attack; diabetes; blindness; multiple sclerosis; Alzheimer’s; stroke; organ transplantation; arthritis and osteoporosis; bone, tendon and cartilage damage; and sports injuries.
This year Black Sabbath frontman’s Ossie Osbourne’s daughter reported he was ‘feeling better’ and had seen his Parkinson’s symptoms improve since undergoing experimental stem cell treatment for the neurodegenerative condition.
“Seeing, after one treatment of stem cell, what has happened and the progress that he’s made is mind-blowing,” said Kelly. “He wants to get up. He wants to do things. He wants to be a part of the world again. He’s walking better. He’s talking better. His symptoms are lessening. He is building the muscle strength back that he needs.”
Ozzy was diagnosed in 2003 with Parkin 2 – a very rare genetic form of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time.
It develops when cells in the brain stop working properly and are lost over time. These brain cells produce a chemical called dopamine.
Symptoms start to appear when the brain can’t make enough dopamine to control movement properly.
There are 3 main symptoms – tremor (shaking), slowness of movement and rigidity (muscle stiffness) – but there are many other symptoms too.
The number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the UK is about 145,000. But there are more than 1 million people in the UK who are affected, either by living with Parkinson’s, or as a friend, colleague, or family member of someone who is.
Stem cells hold tremendous promise for regenerative medicine due to their unique ability to self-renew and divide into specialised cells. This means that when the body needs more stem cells, they can replicate to produce more specialised cells that can replace damaged ones.
They can be derived from several sources including umbilical cord blood, embryonic origins or reprogrammed from adult cell types.
While no stem cell-based treatment has been proven safe and effective for the treatment of Parkinson’s, stem cells do hold huge promise, which is why pioneering research is happening around the world to develop treatments.
Read more about stem cell research for Parkinson’s disease here.