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

ary for the cells to survive in the brain. The implanted cells serve as a new potential source of levodopa to enhance dopamine production where it is most needed.

The patients were selected based on disease stage, levodopa responsiveness, and severity of PD symptoms while off medication. An even distribution of Spheramine was surgically implanted into the more affected side of the brain, and patients left the hospital a few days later.

The primary efficacy measure in this trial is the motor score of the Unified Parkinsons Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) when the patient has been OFF antiparkinsonian medication for at least 12 hours. The researchers report clinical improvements were noted in both UPDRS motor scores off medication (44 percent improvement from baseline at 48 months) and patient-reported quality of life scores (23 percent improvement from baseline of total PDQ-39 score at 48 months). Several of these patients have been monitored for 6 years and the trial has been extended to 10 years of follow-up.

Bakay said positive results in the pilot study prompted the initiation of a Phase IIb, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, sham surgery-controlled study (STEPS) to further evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of Spheramine. Changes from the pilot study included implantation in both sides of the brain and the addition of a sham surgery group. To date, 71 patients have been randomized for either Spheramine or sham surgery and results from the will become available later this year.

Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects a persons motor skills which worsen as the disease advances. Early in the disease, there is a loss of brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine. Normally, dopamine operates in a delicate balance with other neurotransmitters to help coordinate the millions of nerve and muscle cells involved in movement. Without enough dopamine, thi
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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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