Written by Amy Norton
WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a first, scientists have treated a Parkinson’s disease patient with his own skin cells — repurposing them to become key brain cells that the disease kills off.
Two years after receiving the experimental treatment, the patient has had no adverse effects, his doctors report. His symptoms, meanwhile, have either stabilized or gotten somewhat better.
“The improvement has been modest,” said senior researcher Kwang-Soo Kim, who directs the molecular neurobiology laboratory at the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, in Belmont, Mass.
“But,” he added, “before this treatment he’d been deteriorating rapidly, and afterward his worsening stopped.”
Kim said his team is planning to study the therapy in additional patients.
For now, this patient represents one demonstration that the approach is feasible. But James Beck, chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, sounded some cautionary notes.
For one, he said, the therapy would be difficult to “scale up” and make widely available — at least as the technology exists today.
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