New research suggests stem cells could be delivered through the
11 February 2011
New research published in the journal Rejuvenation
Research (PDF file) this week suggests that stem cell
treatments for Parkinson's could be
delivered to the brain through the nose in the future.
This exciting study offers a promising and non-invasive approach for delivering stem cells to the Parkinson's brain.
Dr Kieran Breen, Director of Research
Researchers at at the University Hospital of Tübingen in Germany
successfully treated rats with Parkinson's using stem cells
delivered through their noses.
What the research team did
In this groundbreaking study, the rats were first treated with a
chemical that specifically damages the dopamine-producing nerve
cells lost in Parkinson's.
This resulted in the death of the nerve cells and reduced
production of dopamine. And the rats developed movement problems
similar to those experienced by people with Parkinson's.
The researchers then treated the rats with stem cells delivered
through the nose.
The stem cells naturally migrated from the nose into the brain
and were able to survive for around 6 months.
The researchers also saw significant improvements in mobility
and increased levels of dopamine in areas of the brain treated with
Promising new approach for stem cell treatments
Our Director of Research and Development, Dr Kieran Breen,
"This exciting study offers a promising and non-invasive
approach for delivering stem cells to the Parkinson's brain.
"Delivering stem cells to the brain through the nose would have
a number of advantages. It would avoid the damage, inflammation and
swelling caused by brain surgery.
"And, crucially, this non-invasive technique would also make it
possible to have repeated stem cell treatments over time.
"It's a very exciting time for stem cell research. But we still
need to do lots more research to make stem cell treatments a
reality for people with Parkinson's, including further studies to
work out whether these new delivery techniques would work in
Find out more about stem cell research