Parkinson's Disease Research

Scientists are also investigating the role of mitochondria in Parkinson's disease. Mitochondria are structures in the cells that provide energy for cellular activity. MPTP (a potent neurotoxin named 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine) has been found to interfere with the function of mitochondria within nerve cells, leading to a Parkinson's-like syndrome. Because of this, some scientists suspect that similar abnormalities in the mitochondria may be involved in Parkinson's disease.
Cell Transplantation
Neural grafting, or transplantation of nerve cells, is an experimental technique proposed for treating Parkinson's disease. Investigators have shown in animal models that implanting fetal brain tissue from the substantia nigra into a parkinsonian brain causes damaged nerve cells to regenerate.
A new and promising approach may be the use of genetically engineered cells (such as modified skin cells that do not come from the nervous system but are grown in tissue culture) that could have the same beneficial effects. Skin cells would be much easier to harvest, and people could serve as their own donors.

Potential Benefits of Participating in Research Studies

People who join research studies for Parkinson's disease may be among the first to benefit if a new approach is effective. And even if people in a trial do not benefit directly, they still make an important contribution by helping healthcare providers and scientists learn more about Parkinson's disease and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect participants. If you are interested in Parkinson's research trials that may benefit you, talk to your healthcare provider.
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Parkinson's Disease Information

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