Meet The Contributors

Mandy ~ I am a stay at home mom who has been on a medical roller coaster ride going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what is wrong with me. All of the doctors agreed that there is something medically wrong with me, they just don't know what... Basically, just about every time that I go to the doctor, I wind up with a new diagnosis. It is very frustrating. I hope that some of these links will maybe help you or lead you in the right direction.

Ferd ~ I have had the honor and pleasure of practicing Internal Medicine for over 25 years. I am now enjoying sharing my thoughts and experience in the blogosphere in a number of ways. I am grateful to Mandy for including me on her excellent blog, Texas Medical Freak!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Closer to Curing Parkinson's Disease

In previous posts I talked about stem cells, what they are, where we can get them, and what they might be able to do. One of the many great expectations is that medical science will learn how to change stem cells into dopamine producing brain cells to replace the ones destroyed by Parkinson's Disease, essentially curing it!

As far back as 2002, Harvard researchers showed that injecting embryonic stem cells into Parkinsonian rat brains could grow into dopamine producing brain cells, and improved the rats' Parkinson's symptoms!

In 2005, Japanese researchers showed that dopamine producing brain cells generated from monkey embryonic stem cells and transplanted into the area of monkey brains where these cells had degenerated from a Parkinson's-like process, were able to reverse the Parkinsonism!

Rats, then monkeys.  We're getting closer!  Now we just have to test them on Europeans, and then on humans!  (Joke!)

As I mentioned on my previous posts, stem cells can be gotten from various sources.  They vary in the degree of potential to change into other cell types.  Human embryonic stem cells seem to have the most potential, but their harvesting is ethically very controversial.  Research is legally limited.

In late 2007, the Harvard research team published a paper showing that nerve cell precursor cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, could generate dopamine, proliferate, and maintain this potential through long term frozen storage and multiple freeze-thaw cycles.

We are getting ever closer to the day when Parkinson's Disease will be cured by stem cell therapy.