This is the first in the world that gives hope to people with Parkinson's disease. On Friday 9 November, researchers at Kyoto University, Japan, said in a statement that they successfully transplanted 2.4 million iPS stem cells into the left brain of a Parkinson's disease patient. "induced pluripotent stem cells" or, in French, induced polyvalent cells).
The operation, which took place last month, lasted three hours, the medical team says. The patient, a man in his fiftieth, was well tolerated. It will be under surveillance for two years. If there is no problem within six months, doctors will implant another 2.4 million additional stem cells, this time on the right side of the patient's brain.
Multiple stem cells
The second most common neurodegenerative disease of the nervous system after Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's affects about 200,000 people in France and over one million in Europe: 8,000 new cases were reported every year in France. According to the US Parkinson's Disease Foundation, the world has 10 million Parkinson's patients.
Characterized by a progressive loss of neurons in the gray brain nuclei, Parkinson's disease causes gradual loss of motion control and the appearance of other motor symptoms such as tremor and limb stiffness. Currently, the treatments available "improve the symptoms, but without slowing the progression of the disease," says the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.
This new treatment with iPS stem cells from healthy donors offers new hope to patients. Indeed, the latter have the distinction of being multiples: by transplanting into the brain, they are able to develop dopamine-producing neurons, a neurotransmitter involved in the control of motor skills.
A clinical trial in seven patients was announced
This successful essay of Japanese scientists will probably not be the last. Last July, Kyoto University announced it would launch a clinical trial with seven participants aged 50 to 69. "I greet the patients for their courageous and decisive participation," said Professor Jun Takahashi, who reported on Friday on NHK's public channel.
This clinical trial itself is based on an experiment conducted in monkeys with stem cells of human origin and reported in an article in the journal Nature in August 2017. According to the researchers, this transplant has improved the primacy capacity in a form of Parkinson's . Survival of the vaccinated cells, injected into the primate brain, was observed for two years without tumor appearance.
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