Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Symptoms of the disease include trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; or impaired balance and coordination. Parkinson’s disease is both chronic and progressive with no available cure today. Although a variety of medications are able to provide some relief from symptoms, researchers continue on the quest for a cure with the goal of restoring the damaged dopaminergic system in Parkinson’s patients. 61

Study Details

One study using Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) isolated from human umbilical cord tissue (hUC-MSCs) suggests that there is a potential to use hUC-MSCs as a therapy for Parkinson’s disease.20 Researchers isolated and then induced the hUC-MSCs to differentiate into dopamine secreting cells. The dopamine producing cells were then transplanted into a specific area of the brain in rats with Parkinson’s disease. The animals that received the transplanted cells exhibited no progression of the disease as compared to the animals that did not receive the dopamine-producing cells. After four months the transplanted cells remained viable. These results suggest that human umbilical Mesenchymal Stem Cells have the potential to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Ideal donor cells for Parkinson’s disease therapy are easily available, capable of rapid expansion in culture, immunologically compatible, and capable of long-term survival and integration in the host brain — all of which hUC-MSCs achieve, demonstrating further the potential for use in treatment.