Transplantation in Parkinson's disease: will stem cells help to reenter the clinical arena?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most frequent neurodegenerative disease and represents a major therapeutic challenge because of the so far missing therapeutic means to influence the ongoing loss of dopaminergic innervation to the striatum. Cell replacement has raised hope to offer the first restorative treatment option. Clinical trials have provided “proof of principle” that transplantation of dopamine-producing neurons into the striatum of PD patients can achieve symptomatic relief given that the striatum is sufficiently re-innervated. Various cell sources have been tested, including fetal ventral midbrain tissue, embryonic stem cells, fetal and adult neural stem cells and, after their groundbreaking discovery, induced pluripotent stem cells. Although embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells have emerged as the most promising candidates to overcome most of the obstacles to clinical successful cell replacement, each cell source has its unique drawbacks. The presentation does not only provide a comprehensive overview of the different cellular candidates including their assets and drawbacks, but also of the various additional issues that need to be addressed in order to convert cellular replacement therapies from an experimental to a clinically relevant therapeutic alternative in PD. Research of the author was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) through the Sonderforschungsbereich 655 “From cells to tissues” and the DFG-Research Center and Cluster of Excellence “Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD)”, the Thyssen-Stiftung, and the Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg.
- Department of Neurology, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany
- CRTD, Center for Regenerative Therapies, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany
- DZNE, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Research Site Dresden, Dresden, Germany
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