Japanese researchers said on Friday they had transplanted so-called "iPS" stem cells into the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease, the world's first trial.
2.4 million cells are injected. The Kyoto University team injected 2.4 million of these pluripotent cells, which were able to provide all types of cells, to the left brain, during a three-hour operation carried out that month. then. The man, in his fifties, was well tolerated and will now be monitored for two years, Kyoto University said in a statement. If no problems arise within the next six months, the researchers will then plant 2.4 million additional cells, this time in the right part of the patient's brain.
IPS cells from healthy donors are thought to develop into neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in motor control. Kyoto University announced in July this clinical trial with seven participants aged 50 to 69 years. "I pay homage to patients for their courageous and persistent participation," Professor Jun Takahashi said, quoted on Friday by NHK public television channel.
More than ten million people are affected. Parkinson's disease is characterized by degeneration of these neurons and produces symptoms that get worse such as tremors, limb stiffness and decreased body movements. This affects more than 10 million people worldwide, according to the US Parkinson's Disease Foundation. Currently available therapies "improve symptoms without slowing down the progress of the disease," said the foundation. This new study aims to reduce crime.
The first test on monkeys. These experiments followed experiments conducted on monkeys with human origin stem cells that made it possible to enhance the ability of primates to suffer from Parkinson's form to make movements, according to a study published at the end of August 2017 in the scientific journal Nature. Survival of grafted cells, by injection into the primate brain, is observed for two years without the appearance of tumors.
Cells that do not cause fundamental ethical problems. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (IPS) are adult cells that are brought back to a near-embryo state by expressing four genes back (usually inactive in adult cells). This genetic manipulation gives them the ability to produce various types of cells (pluripotency), according to the place of the body where they are then transplanted. The use of iPS cells does not cause fundamental ethical problems, unlike stem cells taken from human embryos.