Profile of the procedure:
- From embryos (ie from fertilized eggs in the initial growth phase), stem cells are removed, reproduced and further developed into dopamine-producing neurons (brain cells) which are subsequently implanted in the dead substantia nigra of Parkinson's patients.
- The advantage of this method is that these stem cells are still completely unembossed and thus particularly vital and adaptable.
- The method has long been tested only in cell cultures and few animal experiments, so that its applicability in humans was still difficult to estimate. Recently, however, European researchers have succeeded in producing dopamine neurons from embryonic stem cells and their successful implantation into the brains of rats (more here ).
- In many countries, the use of embryonic stem cells is severely restricted or prohibited, as they are taken from basically viable embryos.
One of the leading researchers in this field is Professor Lorenz Studer, who originally came from Switzerland and is now active in New York. At Harvard University, embryonic stem cells are also being investigated as the basis for cell replacement therapies for Parkinson's disease patients. Various European researchers, B. Prof. Anders Björklund and Prof. Malin Parmar from the University of Lund in Sweden or Prof. Roger Barker from the University of Cambridge in the UK have taken a leading role in EU-funded NeuroStemCell and NeuroStemcellRepair projects.
Here are some sources:
1) Forschungsprojekte von Prof. Studer
2) Articles in the journal "Nature"
3) Interview with Prof. Studer (2011)
4) Pressemeldung zu Stammzell-Projekt
5) Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI)
6) Successful generation and implantation of dopamine neurons