Stem cells used to replace neurons in patient with Parkinson’s disease – European Pharmaceutical Review

A team has revealed that a patient who received induced pluripotent stem cells to replace lost dopaminergic neurons has reduced symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Elderly patient with Parkinson's

Reprogramming a patient’s own skin cells to replace cells in the brain that are progressively lost during Parkinson’s disease has been shown to be technically feasible, reports a team of investigators from McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), US. 

As described in the current report, the use of a patient’s own reprogrammed cells is an advance that overcomes barriers associated with the use of cells from another individual.

“As the cells come from the patient, they are readily available and can be reprogrammed in such a way that they are not rejected on implantation. This represents a milestone in ‘personalised medicine’ for Parkinson’s,” said senior author Dr Kwang-Soo Kim, director of the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean Hospital.

The McLean-MGH team reprogrammed a 69-year-old patient’s skin cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and then differentiated them to take on the characteristics of dopaminergic neurons, which are lost in Parkinson’s. After extensive testing of the cells, Kim applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a single-patient, Investigational New Drug (IND) application and also received the approval of the hospital human subjects ethical review board to implant the cells into the patient’s brain.

In a series of two separate surgeries in 2017 and 2018, the