Scientists in Sweden have confirmed that a study on stem cells could be used to heal the damage in the brain caused by Parkinson's disease. After the success of testing on rats, Malin Parmar, associate professor of developmental and regenerative neurobiology, claims this is "a stepping stone towards clinical trials." At present there is no cure for the disease, instead only medication and brain stimulation for alleviation.
Parkinson's disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain that produce the chemical dopamine which helps control mood and movement. Researchers were able to simulate the disease and then covert embryonic stem cells into neurons that produce dopamine. Once injected into the rat's brain, results showed that the damage was reversed. If results continue to be as positive, it is possible that this study will be ready for human testing in 2017.
Charity Parkinson's UK commented on the research, stating it "is a key step along the way in helping us to understand how stem cells might shape future Parkinson's treatments. There are important potential advantages of these cells over the foetal-derived cells used in past cell transplantation work.”