Brain cells under a microscope

Promising results from first year of NTCELL trial

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The latest update on the NTCELL® Parkinson's clinical trial shows promising results for this innovative cell transplant therapy.

Clinical trials of NTCELL® first started back in 2013 with a small phase 1 trial. 

These new results (PDF, 210KB) come after 1 year of following the 18 participants taking part in the latest phase 2b trial, which started in 2017.

Importantly, the results show no safety issues with the therapy at this time. They also provided encouraging signs of benefit, as those receiving larger doses of the therapy have shown improvements in clinician-assessed movement assessments compared to those who received a placebo.

what is NTCELL® therapy?

NTCELL® is a cell transplant therapy which uses cells taken from part of the brain called the choroid plexus. It has been developed by a New Zealand based company called Living Cell Technology

Choroid plexus cells are naturally occurring 'support' cells for the brain which release chemicals that help protect the brain.

These cells, taken from young pigs, are almost identical to cells found in the human brain.

In NTCELL®, the cells are packaged inside a specially designed capsule that acts like a teabag - allowing beneficial proteins and chemicals to leak out, but preventing the immune system from rejecting the cells as foreign.

The current phase 2b clinical trial aims to identify the most effective dose of NTCELL® capsules. Participants receiving the active treatment have either 40, 80 or 120 of the capsules implanted on both sides of their brain, and results will be compared to those receiving a placebo treatment.

An innovative approach

Dr Beckie Port, Research Communications Manager at Parkinson's UK, comments:

"This new therapy is a very innovative approach, and these interim results offer hopeful signs that it may be able slow, stop or reverse the damage to cells that occurs in Parkinson's. 

"There is still a long way to go before the end of the trial and, because this is such new technology, monitoring its long-term safety will be paramount.

"We hope to continue to see such promising results, which will pave the way for future larger trials. And, in the not too distant future, may deliver a new treatment that can slow the progression of Parkinson's."