A research team led by Kyoto University Prof. Jun Takahashi announced to the Japanese media in Tokyo on Friday that they have successfully conducted experiment to transplant induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells into the brain of a 50-something Parkinson's disease patient.
The team artificially created human nerve cells and injected them into the patient’s brain. It is the world first trial that scientists have attempted to treat Parkinson’s disease patient with stem cell therapy.
The Japanese scientists further divided iPS, which was acquired from somatic cells of a healthy person, to create 2.4 million iPS cells, before injecting them through the left side of the patient's skull by using a special syringe. The patient reportedly has shown no side-effect for one month since the treatment.
iPS can grow into new cells when injected into an organ of the body with hard-to-cure diseases including spinal cord, retina, and liver that were difficult to treat with conventional medical treatment.
The Japanese scientists divided iPS into nerve cells in laboratory, before injecting them into the body in order to reduce the risk of cancer development. “The basic technique for iPS is auto-transplantation through which cells gained from the patient’s own body are divided before being transplanted, but the Japanese scientists have used cells from a healthy stranger in the study,” said Oh Dong-hoon, CEO of stem cell company Stem Lab. “This technique could reduce the risk of cancer development and be more efficient for mass production.”
Because the cells are a stranger’s nerve cells, however, the patient should take immune-depressant for a long period of time. The Japanese scientists continue to monitor the patient because certain adverse reaction that occurs in "mitochondria," a small organ within the cell, cannot be dodged completely. They plan to closely examine the patient to find whether the treatment entails any side effect, before injecting nerve cells on the right side of the brain six months later.