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Cell-based therapy shows promise in patients with Parkinson's disease
Date:4/28/2008

CHICAGO - A novel cell therapy using retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells attached to tiny gelatin bead microcarriers implanted in the brain can improve the symptoms of patients with moderate to advanced Parkinsons disease (PD).

Rush University Medical Center neurosurgeon Dr. Roy A. E. Bakay and colleagues from Emory University, Atlanta found the therapy Spheramine was well-tolerated and patients experienced improvement in Parkinsonian symptoms (tremor, rigidity, slowness of movements, and impaired balance and coordination.) These findings were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Chicago on April 28, 2008.

The pilot study was initiated at Emory University Hospital and followed six patients with moderate to advanced PD to investigate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the Spheramine implantation. The full patient group has been evaluated for four years, and several have been monitored for six years. Bakay and colleagues report long-term improvement or stabilization of symptoms, maintained for a minimum of two years after Spheramine implantation. They note no Spheramine-related serious adverse events were reported and that the most frequent adverse event was postsurgical headache, which spontaneously resolved within one to two weeks.

The results of this study are very encouraging Spheramine is well tolerated through several years of follow-up and improvement in parkinsonian symptoms is sustained, stated Bakay.

The cellular product Spheramine consists of RPE cells attached to microcarriers. RPE cells produce levodopa, the precursor of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced by nerve cells in the brain that progressively declines as the disease progresses.

The RPE cells, which are normally found in the back of the eye, are cultured under standardized conditions and attached to the microscopic beads prior to implantation. The microcarriers are necess
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Contact: Mary Ann Schultz
mary_ann_schultz@rush.edu
312-933-7333
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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