News ArchivesRead News
’Engineered’ Stem Cells May Help Treat Parkinson’s
Thursday December 22, 2005
12/15/05(Forbes) - Engineered human progenitor brain stem cells are able to produce and deliver into the brain a growth factor that shows promise in treating Parkinson’s disease, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
A major challenge in treating Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative brain disorders is getting drugs to the desired areas of the brain. The brain’s structure effectively blocks the delivery of most drugs via the bloodstream. The engineered progenitor brain cells are designed to sneak drugs past the blood-brain barrier.
The University of Wisconsin team obtained and grew large numbers of progenitor cells from human fetal brain tissue and engineered those cells to produce the growth factor called glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF).
Some small clinical trials showed that GDNF provide relief from the debilitating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, GDNF could not cross the blood-brain barrier and had to be pumped directly into the brains of Parkinson’s patients in order to work.
In this latest study, researchers transplanted the engineered progenitor cells into the brains of rats and monkeys. The cells effectively integrated into the brains of the animals and delivered GDNF to the targeted brain areas.
The findings were published in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Gene Therapy.
"This work shows that stem cells can be used as drug delivery vehicles in the brain," University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientist Clive Svendson said in a prepared statement.
Recent NewsMay 15 - Study offers answers on life expectancy for people with Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia
May 5 - Parkinson's in a dish: Researchers reproduce brain oscillations
May 5 - ‘Hunger Hormone’ Could Help Treat Parkinson’s Disease
May 3 - Antibiotic doxycycline may offer hope for treatment of Parkinson's disease
May 1 - Impulse Control Disorders in Parkinson's Disease: Building Physician, Patient Awareness
Apr 28 - Does Parkinson’s disease begin in the gut?
Apr 28 - New empathy-creating digital device could be revolutionary for caregivers
Apr 24 - Treating Depression With Deep Brain Stimulation Works—Most of the Time
Apr 24 - Parkinson’s disease shows links to depression
Apr 21 - TOLEDO Trial: Apomorphine Infusions Reduce 'Off' Time in Parkinson's Disease
Apr 21 - New drug provides long-awaited breakthrough for Parkinson's psychosis
Apr 12 - Obstructive Sleep Apnea Affects Cognition in Parkinson's Disease
Apr 11 - Seattle boxing gym giving hope to Parkinson's patients
Apr 10 - A new rhythm
Apr 10 - Brain cells reprogrammed to make dopamine, with goal of Parkinson's therapy
Apr 6 - FDA allows marketing of first direct-to-consumer tests that provide genetic risk information for certain conditions
Apr 5 - Combatting the isolation of young onset Parkinson's disease
Apr 1 - The Kid is Alright
Mar 30 - Hepatitis Tied to Parkinson's Risk
Mar 28 - Elon Musk's new company said to see brain-computer link