Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a central nervous system disorder which affects movement. It can cause debilitating symptoms, including gait challenges and loss of balance, slow movement, and stiffness. More than 10 million of people across the globe are affected by the condition, and while there are treatments available to control symptoms, there is not yet a cure.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by insufficient dopamine levels. This chemical transmits messages to the brain to control movement and some types of thinking. The disease kills dopamine-producing neurons, and it may also affect other nerve cells. As these neurons die, people with PD experience mobility challenges and may also have other frustrating symptoms, such as sleep disorders, loss of the sense of smell, and depression.
Experts aren’t sure what causes Parkinson’s disease. In a small percentage of cases, inherited gene mutations appear to be the cause of the disease. While they have yet to understand the precise mechanisms that cause the disease in other cases, researchers are working diligently to find viable treatment options. In particular, regenerative medicine – and stem cell therapy in particular – is showing promise to help manage symptoms.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been studied to show promise as a therapeutic approach for Parkinson’s disease. These cells have the natural ability to differentiate and self-renew to replace lost or damaged cells due to a neurodegenerative condition. MSCs have the differentiation potential to differentiate into dopaminergic neurons.
With the ability to replace lost cells with new, healthy ones, stem cell therapy could help manage symptoms or slow progression for those with Parkinson’s disease. Scientists are also making IPS cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease to develop a better understanding of how the disease works, which could also help to advance treatment for the condition.
This post was written by Becky Palmer, a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine, also known as Stem Cell Therapy in Tampa. Regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues.