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Neural cell transplants may help those with Parkinson's disease
Date:5/18/2008

Tampa, Fla. (May 19, 2008) The current issue of CELL TRANSPLANTATION (Vol. 17:4) features a number of publications by researchers seeking new ways to treat Parkinsons disease (PD), a neurological disease characterized by muscle rigidity, tremor and slowed physical movements related to insufficient levels of dopamine (DA) in the basal ganglia of the brain, by using primate models to examine the potential therapy role of transplanted cells.

One research team looked at the ability of human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) as a potential therapy when hNPCs were engineered to produce glial derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in the brain following hNPC transplants.

Localized delivery is essential for aiming therapeutic molecules when treating neurodegenerative disorders, said Maria Emborg, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There are currently a number of clinical trials underway using direct gene therapy approaches to deliver potent trophic factors throughout the basal ganglia.

Emborg and colleagues report that hNPCs genetically modified to over-express GDNF were able to survive transplant and produced GDNF for three months, and that functional recovery in test animals increased while no obvious negative side effects from the transplant procedure were observed.

Contact: emborg@primate.wisc.edu


An international team of researchers from the University of Kentucky Medical Center and the Shandong Provincial Hospital, Shangdong, PR of China, are studying the neurorestorative effects of the exogenous protein neurturin (NTN), another member of the GDNF family. They found that the protein may have beneficial effects on PD as their results showed some restorative influences after cell transplantation.

Tissue distribution of trophic factor is a critical variable to achieve optimal effects on dopamine function and promote behavioral improvement, said cor
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Contact: Dr. Paul Sanberg
psanberg@health.usf.edu
813-974-3154
Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair
Source:Eurekalert

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