A group of Japanese researchers announced Friday to transplant induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) into the brain of a patient with Parkinson's disease, the first attempt of its kind in the world.
The team from Kyoto University injected 2.4 million iPS cells –be able to generate any type of cells– in the left part of the brain during a three-hour operation in October.
The man, about 50 years old, He endured the treatment well and will be under surveillance for two years, said the Kyoto University in a statement.
If a problem occurs in the next six months, researchers will implant 2.4 million additional cells, this time in the right part of the brain.
These iPS cells from healthy donors will develop into neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in motor control.
The Kyoto University announced in July that it would conduct a clinical trial with seven people between 50 and 69 years.
Parkinson's disease is characterized by neuronal degeneration, with progressively worsening symptoms such as tremor, muscle stiffness and loss of body movement.
It affects more than ten million people worldwide, according to the American Parkinson Foundation. Currently available therapies "improve symptoms without slowing the disease progression" explains the reason.
The new investigations are aimed at turning evil.
Prior to the clinical trial in humans, an attempt was made on monkeys with stem cells of human origin that made it possible to improve the movement capacity of primates affected by a type of Parkinson's, according to a study published in late August 2017 in the scientific journal Nature.
For two years, the survival level of the transplanted cells was closely monitored by injection into the primate star and no tumor was detected.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are adult cells reduced to their almost embryonic state to generate four genes (usually inactive in adults). This genetic manipulation provides the opportunity to produce any cell according to the body site where they are transplanted.
The use of iPS cells does not lead to significant ethical problems, unlike stem cells derived from human embryos.