Hallett PJ, Cooper O, Sadi D, Robertson H, Mendez I, Isacson O.
Long-term health of dopaminergic neuron transplants in Parkinson's disease patients.
Cell Rep. 2014 Jun 26;7(6):1755-61. Epub 2014 Jun 6
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These data add to our confidence that cell therapy might re-emerge as a potentially useful therapy in PD following the disappointments of two double-blind trials. In this latest paper, Dr. Isacson has shown that transplanted fetal dopaminergic cells remain healthy and functional many years after the transplant procedure. The publication is timely as the TRANSEURO team are about to embark on a further series of fetal dopamine cell transplants in younger PD patients at an earlier stage of disease. It is hoped that positive results will pave the way for trials of stem cell transplants to replace fetal cells as a more acceptable way of repairing the dopaminergic deficits seen in PD.
The study by Ole Isacson and colleagues gives further evidence that restorative treatments with the use of fetal or stem cells can work in Parkinson’s disease (PD). This study shows important postmortem evidence of long-term graft survival in PD patients previously given transplants. Most importantly, the authors show robust dopamine transporter expression in the transplanted dopamine neurons, indicating that these neurons were functional.