Stem cell therapy can be highly effective for treating a wide range of spine and joint conditions, including degenerative diseases and sports injuries. But new research from Japan suggests it may also help patients living with Parkinson’s disease to manage some of their main symptoms, including shaking and loss of movement control.
With stem cell therapy, patients with Parkinson’s may be able to control their movements enough to play tennis. After successfully testing the treatment on monkeys, researchers are preparing for the first trial with human patients.
Parkinson’s damages brain cells, which causes the brain to lose dopamine, a chemical that helps control bodily movements. In Parkinson’s patients, this leads to shaking, stiffness, slowness, dizziness, and involuntary movement. Patients find it difficult to perform basic movements, and often find they lose their balance.
Researchers were curious if stem cell therapy could help to regenerate the brain cells damaged by the disease. Using tissue from adult humans, the researchers extracted stem cells—undifferentiated cells capable of adapting to become any kind of specialized cell—and used them to manufacture new brain cells in monkeys. At the same time, the monkeys were being carefully monitored for adverse side effects.
According to the report published in the journal Nature, the monkeys experienced a 40-55% improvement in motor skills with the introduction of the new brain cells. They also regained their balance and movement control, suggesting that this treatment could effectively relieve the main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
While stem cell therapy may be able to improve a patient’s physical capability and reduce the need for medication, it is not a cure for the disease itself. Parkinson’s also causes cognitive problems, including memory loss, which will require further study to treat.
However, this new research is a promising step forward for Parkinson’s treatment. Now that the treatment has been pronounced safe, researchers are preparing to test it on humans for the first time. If these tests yield positive results, it may be used to help patients manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Stem cell therapy has proven effective for treating a wide range of degenerative diseases, sports injuries, and back and joint pain. The treatment is safe, minimally-invasive, and has a short recovery time. To find out if stem cell therapy is right for you, contact us today.