In Japan, a new method for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Kyoto Univ. to begin iPS clinical test for Parkinson's disease

The team led by Jun Takahashi, a professor at the university's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, has received government approval and is soliciting several patients to participate in the trial to be conducted at Kyoto University Hospital, according to sources close to the matter.

This innovative treatment is based on a special type of stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, discovered in 2006 by Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka.

The ground-breaking clinical trial is being led by Jun Takahashi, from the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University.

They hope stem cells will regenerate brain activity which has been lost to the ailment.

The same technology is also the basis for this novel Parkinson's disease treatment, which aims to convert millions of iPS cells into so-called dopaminergic progenitors - neurons that can generate the dopamine neurotransmitter in the brain and replenish the low dopamine levels responsible for the onset of Parkinson's symptoms.

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In the other Japanese cases of treating degenerative diseases using iPS cells, scientists at the Riken national research institute are now conducting clinical tests involving the transplantation of retina tissue created from iPS cells into patients suffering from age-related macular degeneration, an intractable eye disease. Approximately 5 million cells will be injected into the patients' striatum (in red above), the primary brain region implicated in the disease. Last year, however, the research team from Kyoko University successfully used iPS cells to restore normal brain function in monkeys without any sign of tumors over the course of the 2-year study.

Seven participants aged between 50 and 69 will participate in the trial and their progress will be monitored for two years.

These can be derived from the patient, making them less likely to be rejected, while also sidestepping ethical qualms about taking cells from embryos.

Parkinson's disease is characterized by a decrease in the number of neurons and lack of produced by the neurons of the hormone dopamine.

A clinical test for treating heart disappointment by utilizing a heart muscle cell sheet made from iPS cells is planning by Osaka University.

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