We support calls for funding into research using stem cells to
15 June 2012
Stem cells have great potential for the treatment of Parkinson's in the future.
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research
The European Parliament
is currently debating how much money it should invest in its
research plans for the future.
Part of these plans look at how much money they should give to
research involving stem cells, and in particular embryonic stem
cells. This could affect research that is undertaken into Parkinson's.
Stem cells are special cells that are
capable of becoming any of the 200 different types of cells that
make up the human body. This is how the body refreshes itself and
replaces cells as needed such as skin and some internal organs.
This means that stem cells could be particularly promising for
Parkinson's research to help us to
better understand the condition.
And if they were transformed into the dopamine-producing nerve
cells that die in Parkinson's, we may be able to transplant them in
to replace the dead cells.
Although many different types of stem cells are being
investigated to treat Parkinson's, embryonic stem cells currently
appear to have the most potential to work.
However, research is being carried out to determine whether
other more accessible sources of stem cells may be used. This means
it is critical that investment in stem cells continues.
Vital avenue of research
Dr Kieran Breen, our Director of Research and Innovation,
"Stem cells have great potential for the treatment of
Parkinson's in the future. It is vital that we keep this avenue of
research open to ensure that all areas of stem cell research are
"By raising a barrier to future research in this area, we will
slow down the development of stem cell technology and this could
prevent the development of better treatments for people with
Parkinson's which would bring us closer to our ultimate goal of a
cure for the condition."