Parkinson's Disease and Stem Cells
Parkinson's Disease and Stem Cells: The Challenges That Lie AheadWhile the results of this study are intriguing, they also reveal the need for additional research. For example, the transplanted cells did not survive in 6 of the 25 rats treated, and 5 of the animals developed tumors near the site of the transplants within the first 9 weeks. These complications illustrate the importance of learning how to control and manage how the stem cells become dopamine-producing brain cells before planning similar studies in humans.
Also, little is known about the different types of stem cells and Parkinson's disease. Researchers need to better understand the fundamental biology of stem cells and neural precursor cells before such technologies can be used to treat this disease in a safe, effective, and predictable manner.
Until important questions like these are answered, treating Parkinson's disease through stem cell transplantation will still be considered an experimental therapy.