Iranian researchers use stem cells in treating Parkinson's disease

TEHRAN, Nov. 01 (MNA) – Researchers from Shahid Beheshti University have obtained positive results from applying stem cells in treating Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement by destroying the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Dopamine which is responsible for movement is greatly reduced in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Hassan Niknejad, head of the faculty of New Technologies at Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, said cell therapy is more effective than pharmacotherapy in treating diseases that affect the nervous system; “during its early stages, Parkinson’s disease can be treated by pharmacotherapy as the drugs help stimulate cells to produce more dopamine, but once the nerve cells are reduced to half or even one-third of the cells in a healthy body, the effectiveness of drugs will drop considerably,” he said.

He added that the damaged cells must be replaced with healthy ones so that the patient can go about his or her daily activities.

“At present, the treatment of Parkinson’s disease has yielded good results in other countries since they use the brain of aborted babies to extract cells from it and replace them with the damaged cells in a patient with the disease,” said Niknejad, noting that this method can only be used in countries where abortion is legal.

“Abortion is illegal in Iran, and as such we used the patient’s blood or bone marrow as alternatives to extract stem cells,” he said.

Noting that a great volume of cells is needed to replace the damage cells in a person with Parkinson’s disease, Niknejad added that the cells would be transformed into dopamine nerve cells through biotechnology.

“This process takes 28 days to be completed until we have obtained cells similar to nerve cells with the same functions,” he added.  

According to Niknejad, at the moment using cell therapy for treating Parkinson’s disease has achieved positive results on a rat and a monkey, showing complete recovery in the brains of these two animals with Parkinson’s disease. 

 

MS/2954336

 

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