BEIJING, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have tested a stem cell-based strategy to cure Parkinson's disease on primate models, providing strong support for carrying out related clinical research.
Parkinson's disease is one of the leading neural degenerative disorders, which is primarily caused by death of dopamine neurons. Stem cell research has great potential to treat Parkinson's disease by creating dopamine-producing cells from stem cells.
However, prior to the clinical application, pre-clinical data was required to show the safety and efficacy. Previous research was mainly based on rodent models, while the long-term safety and efficacy of these cells in primates lack sufficient data.
Scientists from Institute of Zoology under Chinese Academy of Sciences has used monkey models to evaluate the safety and efficacy of human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, and showed up to two years of evaluation data. The research was published online in Stem Cell Reports on June 14.
The research showed that implanted cells survived for a long time and further matured. There was no immune rejection or other serious adverse reaction. Apparent behavioral improvement are observed in most monkey models.
The research provides support for clinical research.
The team has initiated clinical research of this stem cell-based strategy to treat Parkinson's disease, and the condition of some patients has improved significantly, according to the research team.