Japan Scientists To Use ‘Reprogrammed’ Stem Cells To Fight Parkinson’s

Leslie Hanson
August 2, 2018

On Monday (July 30), researchers at Kyoto University in Japan announced that they were launching a clinical trial to treat Parkinson's disease using reprogrammed adult stem cells.

The team leader is Jun Takahasi, teacher at the university's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, has gotten government endorsement and is requesting a few patients to take an interest in the trial to be led at Kyoto University Hospital, as per sources near the issue.

The major symptoms of Parkinson's disease are caused by a decreasing number of brain cells producing dopamine, which stimulates the nerves.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects the body's motor system, often causing shaking and other difficulties in movement.

About 1 million Americans and another 9 million people worldwide are now battling with Parkinson's disease, reports Newsweek, citing The Parkinson's Foundation. While there are treatments to relieve the symptoms, there is now no cure for the disease.

Among other clinical tests of iPS cells, the government-backed Riken institute conducted the world's first transplant of retinal cells grown from iPS cells to a patient suffering from a serious disease in 2014.

The clinical test with seven participants aged between 50 and 69 will begin on Wednesday.

This innovative treatment is based on a special type of stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, discovered in 2006 by Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka. Last year, however, the research team from Kyoko University successfully used iPS cells to restore normal brain function in monkeys without any sign of tumors over the course of the 2-year study.

"Our research has shown that DA neurons made from iPS cells are just as good as DA neurons made from fetal midbrain", he said past year in a press release.

These can be derived from the patient, making them less likely to be rejected, while also sidestepping ethical qualms about taking cells from embryos.

Osaka University is also planning a clinical test to treat heart failure by using a heart muscle cell sheet created from iPS cells.

In the U.S., scientists from Duke University said in January they had managed for the first time to grow functioning human muscle from iPS cells in the lab.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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