Stemcell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Stemcell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

What is Parkinson’s disease? 

Parkinsons Disease mostly affects older people but can occur at any age.

It is a result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the mid brain that controls body movements.

The first signs are a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking worsens and spreads. Muscles tend to stiffen and balance and co-ordination deteriorate. Emotional, depression, cognitive issues and other mental problems are common as well.

Parkinson’s disease usually found in age group of 50 and 65. It is very more common in men than in women. The disease is not directly life threatening.

General symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease 

  • Slowness in voluntary movements especially in walking and rolling over in bed
  • Decreased monotonous speech, facial expression and decreased eye blinking
  • Stopped posture and shuffling gait with poor arm swing
  • Difficulty in rising from sitting position and unsteady balance
  • Swallowing problems in later stages

 

Conventional treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is such a disease which cannot be cured but can be treated. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can be effectively controlled for years with medication.

Levodopa – also called L- dopa is the drug most often used to treat P.D.

The body metabolizes it to produce – Dopamine, which is required for transmission of nerve impulses from the brain.

Many patients, as their disease worsens, may require having a brain stimulator surgically implanted in the brain.

Other types of treatments for Parkinson’s Disease 

Neurologists and Neurosurgeons have also experimented with various ways of grafting dopamine- producing cells in the brain, rather than trying to correct the neuro transmitter imbalance with drugs.

Stemcell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Since the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are related to loss of dopamine – a specific chemical, stemcell therapy is theoretically possible. Scientists believe that stem cells if successfully transplanted – survive and produce dopamine to improve body function.

Numerous studies and clinical trials all over the world have established that stemcells holds promise for a cure to Parkinson’s disease in the not so distant future.

Though ESCs(Embryonicstemcells)have shown major improvements, in experiments with animal models, there is a risk of developing tumours and is considered too risky to try on human beings. Some trials on humans with Messenchymal stemcells from their own bone marrow and adipose tissues (autologus) have also shown improvements in body movements and general health, but the trial was done on a very small group of patients and has only established the safety of using autologus stemcells, but more trials on bigger and varied groups have to be carried out before it can become a standard care treatment for Parkinson’s disease.