Japanese researchers announced on Monday that they will conduct the first human trial of Parkinson's disease with so-called "iPS" stem cells.
A research team from Kyoto University plans to inject into the brain of patients five million pluripotent stem cells " iPS " ( for "induced Pluripotent Stem Cells" capable of giving any type of cell, said the university in a statement.
These iPS cells from healthy donors will develop in neurons producers of Dopamine a neurotransmitter involved in the control of motor function
The disease is marked by the degeneration of these neurons and results in progressively worsening symptoms such as tremors, limb rigidity, and decreased body movement.It affects more than ten million people worldwide according to the US Parkinson's Disease Foundation.
Current Therapies are available to "improve the symptoms without slowing the progression of the disease", explains this foundation.
This new research aims to to make the evil regress. The clinical trial with seven participants aged 50 to 69 will begin Wednesday. The university will monitor patients for two years.
This trial follows an experiment performed on monkeys with stem cells of human origin that have improved the ability of primates with a form of Parkinson's to make movements, according to a study published late August 2017 in the scientific journal Nature. The survival of grafted cells by injection into the brain of primates was observed for two years, with no tumor onset.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS) are adult cells brought back to the state almost embryonic by once again expressing four genes (normally inactive in adult cells).
This genetic manipulation gives them the ability to produce any kind of cells (pluripotency), depending on the location of the body where they are then transplanted.
In September 2014, the work of the team of Masayo Takahashi, a professor at the Riken public institute, allowed to implant in the eye of a patient, a 70-year-old woman, a thin film of cells created from iPS cells, themselves derived from adult cells of that person's arm skin. The goal was to treat one of the forms of eye disease called age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in people in the industrialized world, over the age of 55.
The use of iPS cells does not pose any fundamental ethical problems unlike stem cells taken from human embryos.