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The future of stem cell applications challenging, bright
Date:6/8/2011

w researchers suggest that younger patients with the shortest Parkinson's disease duration, for example, are more suitable for cell transplantations than patients who have suffered with the disease for a decade or longer. The less damaged brain, he said, is more receptive to new cells that function to protect and preserve remaining neurons.

Progress is great, yet scientific challenges to creating new cell-based therapies must be overcome one-by-one.

"Much more is to be learned about reprogramming cells," pointed out Dr. Sladek. "For example, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are a third source of stem cells. These cells can be reprogrammed in the laboratory to be self-renewing and pluripotent, but in some cases resist reprogramming or retain a genetic memory that may be a complication."

Besides scientific challenges, political challenges to stem cell transplantation persist as well. Despite on-and-off-again bans on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in the U.S., to the discovery of increasingly more utility in the use of adult stem cells derived from bone marrow, fat cells and liver cells, research in the U.S. is moving forward at great speed as more animal model-based research is leading to human clinical trials.

"It is unlikely that all patients will benefit from cell-based therapies," concluded Dr. Sladek. "Factors related to patient selection need careful consideration, especially concerning stage and severity of disease, the patient's prior therapies, and the need for immunosuppression as well as many other factors."


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Contact: Randolph Fillmore
rfillmore@nasw.org
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert

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