A new study at the University of Wisconsin hopes to use stem cell therapy to doctor Parkinson’s disease.
The study is led by professor of neuroscience and neurology Su Chun Zhang and postdoctoral researchers Yuejun Chen, Man Xiong and Yezheng Tao.
Director of the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center Timothy Kamp said studies that have to do with degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, are intimately involved with many aspects of physiology.
Stem cells, Kamp said, are cells taken from tissue or an embryo and implanted into other places in the body where the cells might not work right.
Kamp said growing new stem cells to replace ones lost or damaged by degenerative diseases might improve the symptoms associated with these diseases.
One such degenerative disease is Parkinson’s. In Parkinson’s disease, an individual loses a particular type of brain cell. According to the Mayo Clinic, common signs of Parkinson’s disease are a loss of motor activity or the ability to gesture and move about. Replacing the affected parts of the brain could potentially help restore motor activity, Kamp said.
Oftentimes, unfortunately, this can be a difficult, arduous process, Kamp said. A number of challenges come with stem cell therapy, posing risks for patients and difficulties for researchers.
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“With Parkinson’s disease, the real challenge is cell delivery. They’re