PD Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects close to one million Americans. PD is a chronic and progressive disorder that is thought to be caused by destruction of the dopamine (an important neurotransmitter) generating cells in the midbrain. The cause of PD is unknown and there is no cure so treatment is focused on medication and management of symptoms. Current research directions include investigations into new animal models of the disease and of the potential usefulness of gene therapy, stem cell transplants and neuro-protective agents. There is hope that mesenchymal stem cells will mitigate the degenerative effects of the advancing Parkinson’s.
Stem Cells and Parkinson’s Disease
This observation has prompted scientists to test a variety of different stem cells for their ability to become functional dopamine neurons or to provide protective growth factors for the neurons at risk. In theory, mobilizing or transplanting these cells or their progenitors into the brain could contribute to some degree of functional recovery in patients with Parkinson’s.
The Center For Regenerative Cell Medicine has developed a specific SVF deployment protocol that attempts to utilize the potential regenerative properties of SVF (rich in mesenchymal stem cells and growth factors). Special measures are taken to optimize transport of the SVF across the blood-brain barrier to improve central nervous system uptake. This is all done as an outpatient at the time of SVF harvesting and procurement. The entire cellular surgical procedure takes approximately three hours.
Stem cell therapy offers a very targeted treatment approach because the majority of motor deficiencies in Parkinson’s relate clearly to the failure of one specific kind of cell – the dopamine neuron – to do its job. It has long been known that when dopamine is reintroduced into the central nervous system in animal models as well as human patients, the symptoms of Parkinson’s abate.