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On Wednesday, the drugmaker from Bayer subsidiary BlueRock has become the top most company to claim the initial success in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease in human beings utilizing stem cell therapy. However, over the decades, the trials for Parkinson’s treatment have experienced numerous obstacles.

According to Bayer with 12 volunteers one year into a Phase I trial, BlueRock’s therapy was shown to be well-tolerated and that transplanted cells grew as intended in patient’s brains.

As a result, it prompted the company to proceed with the second phase of human testing, with patient enrollment anticipated to commence in the first half of 2024.

Several research projects worldwide have recently focused on the strategy of transplanting modified cells to rejuvenate a brain region responsible for dopamine production.

The research efforts are being carried out by esteemed institutions such as Cambridge University in Britain, Bundang CHA Hospital in South Korea, Cyto Therapeutics of International Stem Cell Corp in Australia, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Harvard University, and Kyoto University Hospital in Japan.

Upon surgical implantation into the brain of individuals with Parkinson’s disease, the therapeutic cells are specifically engineered to repair the neural networks that have been damaged by the condition.

Preliminary trial results demonstrated that the transplanted cells exhibited multiplication and initiated dopamine production, a crucial signalling molecule in the brain that is deficient in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkison’s disease, a progressive neurological condition affecting over 10 million individuals globally with no known cure, leads to the gradual deterioration of the brain. Common symptoms might include, loss of muscle control, muscle stiffness, tremors and slowed movement, while some patients may also experience dementia.

In a strategic move to establish a cell and gene therapy enterprise, Bayer completed the acquisitions of BlueRock Therapeutics in 2019 and Asklepios Biopharmaceutical in 2020.

In the previous year, Bayer entered into a partnership agreement with Mammoth Biosciences, located in the San Francisco Bay area and co-founded by Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna. The collaborations aim to develop therapeutic tools utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology.

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