Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, is emerging as a viable treatment for Parkinson’s disease as clinical trials move through the FDA approval process. Patients in clinical trials see positive results from mesenchymal stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s Disease.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, neurodegenerative condition. It occurs when dopamine-producing brain cells stop working or die. Dopamine’s role in the body is to send messages between nerve cells or from nerve cells to muscle cells, affecting the body’s physical and mental functions.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s start gradually, and the disease worsens over time. Early symptoms include tremors in the hands, rigidity, and slowness of movement. Patients with Parkinson’s also experience difficulty with balance, and eventually, with speech, writing, and automatic muscle movement such as blinking.
While there’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s, there are medications that patients can take to manage symptoms. Some symptoms are also relieved from surgery to regulate specific brain areas.
Patients with Parkinson’s disease experience a progressive decline in their ability to function, with treatments only offering some relief. The emergence of mesenchymal stem cell therapy as an option to reverse the damage and halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease is an exciting development.
What Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells?
Stem cells are considered to be the building blocks of cells. All specialized cells in the body come from stem cells. When stem cells divide, they either produce more stem cells, called daughter cells, or differentiate into specialized cells, such as bone, blood, or brain cells.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are adult stem cells commonly found in bone marrow. They also exist in adipose (fat), umbilical cord tissue, amniotic fluid, and other locations. MSCs remain dormant in the bone marrow until they’re needed to facilitate healing in the body.
MSCs differentiate into:
- Bone cells
- Muscle cells
- Skin cells
- Neural cells
- Corneal cells
MSCs are present throughout your life, but they age as the body ages, making them less effective and concentrated over time.
How Can Mesenchymal Stem Cells Benefit Those with Parkinson’s Disease?
In recent clinical trials using mesenchymal stem cells on Parkinson’s patients, the cells significantly improved patients’ symptoms, including facial expressions, gait, and rigidity or “freezing” episodes. Some of the patients in this study substantially reduced their dosages of medicines used to control Parkinson’s symptoms.
In a 2005 study, researchers determined that stem cells may be capable of differentiating into dopamine neurons, which are damaged or destroyed with Parkinson’s.
While the true potential of mesenchymal stem cell benefits in Parkinson’s patients is still being investigated, there is reason to believe that patients with the neurodegenerative condition could experience a significant improvement in their quality of life with stem cell therapy. If you are interested in learning more about Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease, contact us today at Stemedix!