Scientists have made a key breakthrough in using stem-cell technology to possibly develop cell replacement therapy for treating Parkinson's disease. They hope that transplanting healthy cells into the brain-damaged parts of patients with Parkinson’s disease could attenuate symptoms such as tremors and balance problems.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh created stem cells that were resistant to developing Parkinson’s disease. Then using a technology called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR), they edited out a gene from some of the cells linked to the formation of Lewy bodies, typically seen in Parkinson’s brain cells.
The stem cells were then transformed into dopamine-producing brain cells and treated with a chemical to induce Lewy bodies. The gene-edited cells did not form Lewy bodies as opposed to unedited cells, which showed signs of Parkinson’s disease.
According to the researchers, younger patients with Parkinson’s and those with an aggressive form of the disease could benefit from the technology after being successfully tested in clinical trials.