November 10, 2018 – 13:18 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net – Japanese researchers said on Friday 9 November that they have transplanted stem cells into the brain of a patient in the first stage of an innovative trial to cure Parkinson's disease. The Kyoto University research team induced Pluripotent Stem cells (iPS) – which are capable of growing in any cell of the body – in the brain of a male patient in their fifties, the university said in an Accotfinh press release at Timesnownews .com.
The man was stable after the operation, which was held last month and is now being watched for two years, added the university. The researchers received 2.4 million iPS cells on the left side of the patient's brain, in a process that took about three hours.
If there are no problems in the next six months, another 2.4 million cells will be implanted on the right. IPS cells from healthy donors have been developed in the dopamine-producing brain precursors, which are no longer present in Parkinson's disease patients.
The intervention came after the University's announcement in July that they would conduct the trial with seven participants aged between 50 and 69. It is the first to involve stem cell implantation in the brain to cure Parkinson's disease.
"I estimate patients to participate in the trial with courage and determination," Kyoto University professor Jun Takahashi told reporters on Friday, according to NHK, a public broadcaster.
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder that affects the body's motor system, often causing shaking and other movement difficulties. Worldwide, about 10 million people have the disease, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.
Currently available treatments "improve symptoms without slowing down or stopping the progression of the disease," says the institute. The human trial comes after a previous monkey trial.
Researchers said last year that Parkinson's-like primates returned to significant mobility after IPS cells were introduced into their brains.
They also confirmed that iPS cells had not been transformed into tumors during the two years following implantation. IPS cells are created by stimulating mature, already specialized cells back into a youthful state – basic cloning without the need for an embryo.
The cells can be transformed into a series of different types of cells and their use is a key area of medical research.