How Stem Cells Can Be Used to Treat Movement Disorders


Movement disorder surgery is designed to address
patient quality of life. Specifically, there are three main areas of
movement disorder that are potential candidates for surgery. Tremor, Parkinson’s disease, and dystonia. These are surgeries that are reserved for
people who don’t tolerate medication or for whom medication is not sufficiently effective. Over the last few decades, there’s been an
interest in going beyond creating either anatomical or physiological holes in the nervous system,
blocking things or using white noise to affect the improvement in movement control that we
want to see in movement disorder patients. The interest is in really finding cures that
will restore normal function, and with particular respect to Parkinson’s disease where we have
a good scientific basis and knowledge of what underlies at least the motor symptoms. Attention
has turned to implanting tissue into the brain to improve function in these areas. And although there’s a popular misconception
that stem cells are put into the brain to restore the cells that are missing, while
that’s not quite true, we do indeed now have the technology to use stem cells in the laboratory
to develop particular cell types that we do want to put back into the brain to restore
function. This technology is progressing very rapidly
at a number of laboratories around the world, including here at Harvard Medical School and
McLean Laboratory. I’ve worked with them on a project to develop
this type of technology for use in Parkinson’s disease, which we expect to go into clinical
investigation, clinical trials, within the near future. Our particular interest, my laboratory interest,
is in improving technology to allow the delivery of this tissue into precise locations, and
to ensure that when it gets there, it survives and does what we want it to do. With the development of better stem cell technology,
we will have in the next 10 years a menu of options to offer patients involving closed
loop stimulation for symptoms, particularly for things like tremor or dystonia where there’s
no obvious cell restorative solution, but also for Parkinson’s disease, more precisely
developed and engineered cell products to offer them. These will include things made from standard
cell lines that may require people to be on immunosuppression. It may involve products developed from patient’s
own body cells, first program to become stem cells, and then program to the precise type
of cell that we want. So we’re going to see an explosion of a variety
of options. I think it’s too early to tell which one of
these things is going to be the standard. I suspect that there will be more than one,
but it’s very exciting to live at a time and be at the forefront, and in a place where
this technology is developing. We’re going to see a revolution in this field
that I think will rival that that occurred in 1968 when Levodopa therapy was developed
for Parkinson’s disease. That will offer a range of options that have
never before been possible for quality of life in an ever larger number of patients.

4 thoughts on “How Stem Cells Can Be Used to Treat Movement Disorders

  1. Someone elses implant is constantly being put on the spot for something they did following me around everywhere and harassing me and mine if they were the sun and could make weird sounds if they were someone else ! LOL. Right !

  2. The biggest helped we had was totalcureherbsfoundation com They walked us through the proper steps, im highly recommending this Parkinson herbal formula to anyone who needs help also.

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