This is a world leader giving hope to people with Parkinson's disease. On Friday, November 9, researchers at Kyoto University, Japan said in a statement that they successfully transplanted 2.4 million iPS stem cells in the left brain of a patient with Parkinson's disease. "induced pluripotent stem cells" or in French induced pluripotent cells).
The surgery, which took place last month, lasted for three hours, says a doctor. The patient, a man in the fifties, was well tolerated. He will now be under surveillance for two years. If no problems occur within six months, doctors will implant another 2.4 million extra stem cells, this time on the right side of the patient's brain.
Pluripotent stem cells
The second most common neurodegenerative disease in the nervous system after Alzheimer's disease affects Parkinson's disease about 200,000 people in France and more than one million in Europe: 8,000 new cases are reported annually in France. According to the American Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the world has 10 million Parkinson's patients.
Characterized by a progressive loss of neurons in the brain's grains, Parkinson's disease causes a gradual loss of motion control and the occurrence of other motor symptoms such as tremor and stiffness in the limbs. Currently available treatments "improve the symptoms, but without slowing the disease," says Parkinson's disease foundation.
This new treatment with iPS stem cells from healthy donors gives new hope to patients. In fact, the latter have the difference to being pluripotent: By transplanting into the brain, they can develop neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in the control of motor skills.
A clinical trial of seven patients announced
This successful paper by Japanese researchers will probably not be the last. In July, the Kyotuniversity announced that a clinical trial would be launched with seven participants aged 50-69. "I greet the patients for their courageous and determined participation," said Professor Jun Takahashi, quoted Friday of NHK's public television channel.
This clinical trial is based on an experiment performed on monkeys with stem cells of human origin and reported in an article in the Nature magazine in August 2017. According to the researchers, this transplant has improved the capacity of primates with a form of parkinson's movements. Survival of grafted cells, by injection into the primates, was observed for two years without any tumor appearance.
Are you interested in this topic? Come and discuss it on our forum!