A group of Japanese researchers announced on Friday the transplant of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) into the brain of a patient with Parkinson's disease, the first such test in the world.
The Kyoto University team injected 2.4 million iPS cells –capable of generating any type of cells– in the left part of the brain during a three-hour operation in October.
The man, about 50 years old, He endured the treatment well and will remain under surveillance for two years, said the University of Kyoto in a statement.
If a problem arises in the next six months, the researchers will deploy 2.4 million additional cells, this time in the right part of the brain.
These iPS cells from healthy donors should turn into neurons that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in motor control.
Kyoto University announced in July that it would conduct a clinical trial with seven people between 50 and 69 years of age.
Parkinson's disease is characterized by neuronal degeneration, with progressively worsening symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness and loss of body movement capacity.
It affects more than ten million people worldwide, according to the American Parkinson's Disease Foundation. The currently available therapies "improve symptoms without slowing the progression of the disease," the foundation explains.
The new investigations are aimed at reversing the evil.
Prior to the clinical trial in humans, an experiment was conducted on monkeys with stem cells of human origin that allowed them to improve the movement ability of primates affected by a type of Parkinson's disease, according to a study published in the August 2017 issue of the journal Scientific Nature. .
For two years, the level of survival of the transplanted cells was closely monitored by injection into the primate brain and no tumor was detected.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) are adult cells reduced to their almost embryonic state to generate four genes (usually inactive in adults). This genetic manipulation returns the ability to produce any cell according to the location of the body where they are transplanted.
The use of iPS cells presents no significant ethical problems, unlike stem cells obtained from human embryos.