Parkinson’s is known as a horrible disease that still remains incurable to this day, despite the advancement in medicine and technology. There are very few ways to help calm some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s however, stem cells have recently been in the forefront of researcher’s minds when it comes at least tackling some of the symptoms. It’s slightly complicated on how they plan to go about making this a reality but, it’s anything short of brilliant.
Parkinson’s is a disease that attacks the brain. It slowly causes motor skills to go haywire, leaving a person to lose control of many movements in general, including balance. Although stem cell treatments do not believe they can cure Parkinson’s disease, they are confident that the care of a patient throughout their lifetime can be greatly improved with as little as one surgery.
These stem cell treatments would include various types of stem cells in order to treat the symptoms that arise from the disease. In short, one surgery could allow patients with Parkinson’s to avoid dopamine-based medicines altogether. Since these medicines have the tendency to have a long list of harsh side effects, that’s a huge win for patients suffering from this disease. It’s crazy to think that one surgery could change so much but, researchers are confident this will be a reality in due time.
In 2015, researchers discovered that it was definitely possible to make dopamine cells and transplant them into the brain, effectively replacing the cells killed off by Parkinson’s. This was accomplished in lab rats and brought great hope to the Parkinson’s community. It showed that embryonic cells could be transformed into dopamine cells. Once altered, these cells, when introduced into the brain, functioned and acted just like native dopamine cells which are the cells affected the most with Parkinson’s.
Perhaps the most notable person with Parkinson’s is Michael J. Fox who has struggled with the disease for many years. In his struggle, he created a foundation to help those struggling with him. This foundation played had a large hand in the earlier stages of research when it came to stem cell research in connection with Parkinson’s. In fact, the foundation funded the research that resulted in one of the biggest breakthroughs in stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s.
Currently, treatment in humans is in the trial stage and there is still a lot of research and work to be had in this particular area of stem cell research. However, there is no doubt in the scientific community that, once completed, this stem cell research will revolutionize the Parkinson’s community as far as slowing the disease as well as treating symptoms in a way that no medication has ever been able to before.