Article

Cell therapy in Parkinson’s disease

Wallenberg Neuroscience Center and Lund Strategic Center for Stem Cell Biology and Cell Therapy, BMC A11, SE-221 84 Lund, Sweden.
NeuroRx 11/2004; 1(4):382-93. DOI: 10.1602/neurorx.1.4.382
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The clinical studies with intrastriatal transplants of fetal mesencephalic tissue in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients have provided proof-of-principle for the cell replacement strategy in this disorder. The grafted dopaminergic neurons can reinnervate the denervated striatum, restore regulated dopamine (DA) release and movement-related frontal cortical activation, and give rise to significant symptomatic relief. In the most successful cases, patients have been able to withdraw L-dopa treatment after transplantation and resume an independent life. However, there are currently several problems linked to the use of fetal tissue: 1) lack of sufficient amounts of tissue for transplantation in a large number of patients, 2) variability of functional outcome with some patients showing major improvement and others modest if any clinical benefit, and 3) occurrence of troublesome dyskinesias in a significant proportion of patients after transplantation. Thus, neural transplantation is still at an experimental stage in PD. For the development of a clinically useful cell therapy, we need to define better criteria for patient selection and how graft placement should be optimized in each patient. We also need to explore in more detail the importance for functional outcome of the dissection and cellular composition of the graft tissue as well as of immunological mechanisms. Strategies to prevent the development of dyskinesias after grafting have to be developed. Finally, we need to generate large numbers of viable DA neurons in preparations that are standardized and quality controlled. The stem cell technology may provide a virtually unlimited source of DA neurons, but several scientific issues need to be addressed before stem cell-based therapies can be tested in PD patients.

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    ABSTRACT: Over the past two decades, regenerative therapies using stem cell technologies have been developed for various neurological diseases. Although stem cell therapy is an attractive option to reverse neural tissue damage and to recover neurological deficits, it is still under development so as not to show significant treatment effects in clinical settings. In this review, we discuss the scientific and clinical basics of adult neural stem cells (aNSCs), and their current developmental status as cell therapeutics for neurological disease. Compared with other types of stem cells, aNSCs have clinical advantages, such as limited proliferation, inborn differentiation potential into functional neural cells, and no ethical issues. In spite of the merits of aNSCs, difficulties in the isolation from the normal brain, and in the in vitro expansion, have blocked preclinical and clinical study using aNSCs. However, several groups have recently developed novel techniques to isolate and expand aNSCs from normal adult brains, and showed successful applications of aNSCs to neurological diseases. With new technologies for aNSCs and their clinical strengths, previous hurdles in stem cell therapies for neurological diseases could be overcome, to realize clinically efficacious regenerative stem cell therapeutics.

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