A group of Japanese researchers announced on Friday induced pluripotent stem cell transplantation (IPS) in the brain of a patient with Parkinson's disease, the first such trial in the world.
The Kyoto University team injected 2.4 million iPS cells –capable of generating any type of cell– On the left side of the brain during a three-hour operation in October.
The man, about 50 years old, He has been well treated and will remain under surveillance for two years, the Kyoto University said in a statement.
If a problem occurs in the next six months, researchers will implant 2.4 million additional cells, this time on the right side of the brain.
These iPS cells from healthy donors are supposed to develop into dopamine-producing neurons, a neurotransmitter that is involved in motor control.
The Kyoto University announced in July that it will conduct a clinical study of seven people aged 50-69.
Parkinson's disease is characterized by: neuronal degeneration, with gradually worsening symptoms such as trembling, muscle rigidity and loss of body movement.
It affects more than ten million people in the world, according to the American Parkinson Disease Foundation. Current therapies "improve the symptoms without slowing the progression of the disease," explains the foundation.
The new investigations aim to reverse the evil.
Prior to the human clinical trial, an experiment was conducted on stem cells of human origin that improved the ability to move primates affected by a type of Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the end of August 2017 in the journal Nature.
For two years, the survival level of the transplanted cells was closely monitored by injection into the primate brain and no tumor was detected.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are reduced-to-embryonic adult cells to generate four genes (normally inactive in adults). This genetic manipulation returns the ability to produce any cell depending on where the body is transplanted.
The use of iPS cells does not present significant ethical problems, unlike stem cells derived from human embryos.