Skip to content

    Parkinson's Disease Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Stem Cells May Help Parkinson's

    Cells Produce Missing Brain Chemical Needed to Counteract Disease
    By
    WebMD Health News

    Nov. 7, 2002 -- Scientists have successfully converted adult stem cells -- unprogrammed, blank-slate cells -- into nerve cells that produce dopamine, the brain chemical missing in Parkinson's disease.

    So far, it's just been done in a laboratory dish and in rat brains. But if this can be done in human brains and with human cells, it may become a new treatment for Parkinson's disease.

    Lorraine Iacovitti, PhD, professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College in Philadelphia, presented her report at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Orlando this week.

    In previous work with rats, Iacovitti and colleagues showed that transplanted nerve stem cells could develop into nerve cells that produced tyrosine hydroxylase, the enzyme needed to make dopamine.

    To see if this worked with human nerve cells, Iacovitti grew brain stem cells in a laboratory dish. Using a mix of human growth hormones and nutrients, the researchers found they could coax about 25% of the stem cells to make tyrosine hydroxylase in the dish.

    This proves that stem cells have the capacity to manufacture dopamine. In fact, when they removed the growth factor cocktail, the cells continued to produce the enzyme for five more days, Iacovitti says in her report.

    They hope to be able to develop this as a treatment for Parkinson's disease in people, Iacovitti says in a news release. -->

    Today on WebMD

    Parkinsons disease illustration
    Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
    hands on walker
    How does the disease progress?
     
    man with serious expression
    8 common questions and answers.
    intelligence quotient illustration
    What are the advantages of DBS?
     
    Parkinsons Disease Medications
    Article
    Questions Doctor Parkinsons
    Article
     
    Eating Right
    Article
    Parkinsons Exercise
    Article
     
    daughter consoling depressed mother
    Article
    senior man's hands
    Article
     
    Parkinsons Daily
    Article
    Acupunture
    Article