This is the first world that gives hope to people with Parkinson's disease. On Friday, November 9, researchers at Kyoto University, Japan, said in a statement that they had successfully transplanted 2.4 million iPS stem cells to the left brain of patients with Parkinson's disease. "induced pluripotent stem cells" or, in French-induced Pluripotent stem cells).
The operation, which took place last month, lasted three hours, the medical team said. The patient, a man in his fifties, is well tolerated. He will now be watched for two years. If no problems arise within six months, the doctor will plant 2.4 million additional stem cells, this time on the right side of the patient's brain.
Pluripotent stem cells
The second most common neurodegenerative disease of the nervous system after Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease affects around 200,000 people in France and more than one million in Europe: 8,000 new cases are reported each year in France. According to the US Parkinson Disease Foundation, the world has 10 million Parkinson's patients.
Marked by the progressive loss of neurons in the gray core of the brain, Parkinson's disease causes a gradual loss of control of movement and the emergence of other motor symptoms such as tremors and stiffness in limbs. At present, available treatments "improve symptoms, but without slowing the progress of the disease," said the Parkinson Disease Foundation.
This new treatment with iPS stem cells from healthy donors offers new hope for patients. Indeed, the latter have differences as pluripotent: by being transplanted into the brain, they are able to develop neurons to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in the control of motor skills.
Clinical trials in seven patients were announced
This successful essay by Japanese scientists might not be the last. Last July, Kyoto University announced that clinical trials will be launched 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.
The clinical trial itself is based on experiments conducted on monkeys with human origin stem cells, and was reported in an article in the journal Nature in August 2017. According to the researchers, these transplants have increased the capacity of primates in the form of movement using Parkinson's. Survival of grafted cells, by injection into the primate brain, is observed for two years without the appearance of tumors.
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