Replacing cells lost in Parkinson’s

A new one-step method to convert cells inside the brain into dopamine-producing cells has been found in mice.

These groundbreaking studies were conducted in mice and were published in the leading scientific journal Nature yesterday.

There are still many challenges to overcome before this technique can be tried in people with Parkinson’s. But, it opens the door to the development of an exciting new treatment approach.

How could this work in people with Parkinson’s?

This new approach offers hope for replacing precious cells from within  the brain and converting them directly into dopamine-producing cells. The technique reversed movement problems in mice which had been treated with a chemical that damages dopamine-producing cells and causes them to develop Parkinson’s-like symptoms.

As this technique has so far only been successfully tested in mice, it will require much further development before it can be tried in people with the condition.

There are a number of very important questions to be answered through further research to refine these techniques and fully understand their safety before they will be ready to be tested in people.

"May be able to reverse Parkinson's in people in future"

Associate Director of Research at Parkinson’s UK, Professor David Dexter, said:

"Cell transplants have, for a long time, aimed to replace lost cells in Parkinson's but their effectiveness has been limited since they struggle to integrate and function effectively within the brain.

“This new technique has overcome this major hurdle in mice and opens the door to an exciting new treatment approach, which may be able to reverse Parkinson's in people in future.

"While people affected by Parkinson's should be greatly encouraged by the rapid advances researchers are making, such new technology requires extensive additional research and safety testing before it can be trialled in humans.”

Find out more about the study

Read more about this groundbreaking research in our blog.