Stem cells are multipotent cells that can differentiate into a wide variety of different types of mature cells. Researchers and clinicians are excited about stem cell therapy because they can be used to produce new, healthy, fully functional cells that can replace cells that are damaged or dying due to a chronic disease process. Stem cells can be prepared from the patient’s own tissues, such as the blood, bone marrow, skin, or fat, and thus there is no risk of rejection or transmission of infectious diseases by the treatment.
Parkinson’s disease is a fairly common neurodegenerative condition. Initial symptoms usually include tremors of one hand. As the disease progresses, other body parts may begin to show tremors; movement may become slow and difficult; balance and posture may be affected; and it can become difficult to speak without slurring. Automatic movements like blinking and natural arm swinging while walking may become difficult. Some individuals with advanced Parkinson’s develop cognitive problems and mood disorders. The disease is caused by progressive loss of neurons in the brain that produce dopamine. Current treatments revolve around medication to restore the levels of dopamine in the brain, and while they can improve symptoms they are not a cure for the disease, which continues to progress.
Stem Cell Therapy
During stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s, stem cells are manipulated in a laboratory to induce them to differentiate into neural stem cells, namely stem cells that can only differentiate into new neurons. Then, the stem cells are introduced into the brain, where they are expected to develop into new, healthy, dopamine-producing neurons. The hope is that these neurons can reverse the course of Parkinson’s disease, arresting or even curing it in one simple procedure.
There are a number of different approaches that clinicians are using to develop and introduce stem cells into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease. One approach that has received a lot of media attention is using neural stem cells derived from reprogrammed skin cells. During a minimally-invasive surgery, millions of the stem cells are injected into the appropriate locations in the brain where they can differentiate into new dopamine-producing neurons. The results of a clinical trial using this approach are expected at the end of 2020. Preliminary results from the first patients treated are very promising. Some clinics have developed other approaches to treating Parkinson’s disease. Results from stem cell therapy treatments are not immediately apparent because the cells have to differentiate and establish themselves, which can take weeks to months.
If you are interested in discussing your options in regards to stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease, we invite you to speak with the educated staff at PRMedica Inc. in San Jose Del Cabo or Cabo San Lucas. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!