People with Parkinson’s disease don’t have enough dopamine – a chemical that allows messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that control movement and some forms of thinking. The disease targets and kills dopamine-producing nerve cells or neurons. However, the disease does affect other nerve cells within the brain, which may account for some of the other features of Parkinson’s, such as issues with sleep, motivation, thinking, etc. Stem cell treatment in India for Parkinson’s disease gives patients new hopes for curing the condition. Stem cells can potentially reverse the disease’s effects by restoring the damaged cells with healthy ones.
Treatment of Parkinson’s Via Stem Cells
Researchers are using stem cells to grow dopamine-producing nerve cells in the lab to study the disease, especially in cases with a known genetic cause for the condition. Because a single, well-defined type of cell is affected, it may also be possible to treat Parkinson’s by replacing the lost nerve cells with healthy new ones.
Transplanted stem cells in Parkinson’s disease have shown the ability to do the following:
- survive in the brain long after transplantation
- function in similar ways to cells in much younger individuals
- produce long-term links such as that in normal, healthy brains
- grow new axons that send messages throughout the brain effectively, meaning that patients who receive the treatment can function much more normally
Types of Stem cells
The human body requires many different types of cells to function, but it does not produce every cell type fully formed and ready to use. Scientists call a stem cell an “undifferentiated” cell because it can become any cell. In contrast, a blood cell, for example, is a “differentiated” cell because it has already formed into a specific kind of cell.
The sections below look at some types of stem cells.
- Embryonic stem cells
Scientists extract embryonic stem cells from unused embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization procedures. They do this by taking the cells from the sources at the blastocyst stage, which is the phase in development before the embryo implants in the uterus. These cells are undifferentiated cells that divide and replicate. However, they are also able to differentiate into specific types of cells.
- Adult stem cells
There are two main types of adult stem cells: those in developed bodily tissues and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Developed bodily tissues —organs, muscles, skin, and bone — include some stem cells. These cells can typically become differentiated cells based on where they exist. For example, a brain stem cell can only become a brain cell.
The goal of stem cell therapy in India for Parkinson’s disease is to replace damaged brain cells with healthy, undifferentiated stem cells. These stem cells can then transform into brain cells and help regulate dopamine levels. Experts believe this can relieve many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
This therapy is still in the early stages of clinical testing. Many trials are either proposed, currently recruiting, or already active. The results of these trials will determine how soon stem cell therapy might become widely available as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.