This is the first world to give hope to people with Parkinson's disease. Japan's Kyoto University researchers announced on Friday (November 9th) that a patient with Parkinson's disease was successfully transferred to the left brain of 2.4 million iPS stem cells. "stimulated pluripotent stem cells" or stimulated pluripotent cells in French).
Last month's operation took three hours, says the medical team. The patient, a man in his fifties, was well tolerated. Now he will be under surveillance for two years. If no problems occur within six months, doctors will now implant 2.4 million additional stem cells, this time on the right side of the patient's brain.
Pluripotent stem cells
Parkinson's disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disease of the nervous system after Alzheimer's disease, affects about 200,000 people in France and more than a million people in Europe: 8,000 new cases are reported each year in France. According to the US Parkinson's Disease Foundation, there are 10 million people with Parkinson's disease in the world.
Parkinson's disease, characterized by a progressive brain neuron loss that releases dopamine, causes progressive loss of other motor symptoms such as movement control and rest tremor and limb stiffness. Presently, the existing therapies that provide dopamine or simulate the action "without improving symptoms, but slowing the progression of the disease", says the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.
This new treatment with iPS stem cells from healthy donors offers patients a new hope. Indeed, the latter has the privilege of being pluripotent: in a given place, it should be transferred to the brain and transformed into dopamine-producing neurons, a neurotransmitter involved in the control of motor skills.
A clinical study on seven patients
This successful article by Japanese scientists will probably not be the last. Last July, Kyoto University announced the launch of a clinical trial with seven participants aged 50 to 69. Professor Jun Takahashi, quoted on Friday by the NHK public television station, "Greet their patients for their brave and decisive participation." Said.
This clinical trial itself is based on an experiment on monkeys with human stem cells and has been reported in an article published in Nature in August 2017. According to the researchers, this transport capacity has increased. Primates, a form of Parkinson's, move. The survival of the grafted cells was observed by injecting them into the brain of the primates for two years without any tumor appearance.
However, this process must continue because it is not sufficient to be good enough for the transplant to be functional. This has been proven by years of stem cell transplants in the heart, which have been carried out for years with a very modest functional result. Not all problems will be solved by a transplant, but hope is leading researchers and the drug.
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