A successful transplant of embryonic stem cells has been carried out on a patient in Sweden as a way of treating, and potentially curing, their Parkinson’s disease. Read on for the full story.
Embryonic vs Cord blood stem cell
Quick explanation upfront.
Embryonic stem cells are collected from embryos that are 3-5 days old. These embryos are called blastocysts. These stem cells can be used in a range of regenerative treatments.
Here at Cells4Life we collect cord blood stem cells. These are the stem cells left over in the cord once the cord has been cut and the placenta has been delivered. This process is compatible with delayed and optimal cord clamping.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
First up a brief introduction to what Parkinson’s is. This disease is degenerative (so over time it’ll get worse) and is a condition that affects the brain.
It presents a variety of symptoms but the most obvious are those to do with motor skills. Balance is impaired, the person will move slower, be more rigid and have a noticeable tremor.
There are also other complications such as cognitive impairment, issue with sleep, pain, mental health disorders and sensory disturbance (according to McMaster Internal Medicine this can be loss of one or more type of sense, something like pins and needles or hypersensitivity).
This disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the Substantia Nigra. This section of the brain helps control movement. This damage in turn reduces the production of dopamine.
Parkinson’s disease currently has no cure but there are current medications to help with symptom management. However, with this first successful transplant, there could be a cure on the horizon.
First the first time ever, in Feb 2023, a patient in Lund, Sweden has received an embryonic stem cell transplant for their Parkinson’s disease. Doctors at Skåne University Hospital have transferred a stem cell-derived nerve cell to the patient which represents a breakthrough in the treatment of this disease.
Scientists generated the cells using embryonic stem cells with the hope they would serve as a replacement for the lost dopamine nerve cells.
According to Gesine Paul-Visse the potential effects of the STEM PD-product (STEM PD being the clinical trial run Sweden and the UK)might take some time, potentially years, to show but the patient has been discharged and evaluations will be carried out according to this studies protocol. The patient will be closely monitored to assess cell survival rate and any side effects of the treatment.
This individual is the first of eight individuals with Parkinson’s from Sweden and the UK who will receive this type of transplant. All the patients involved in this trial have been living with the disease for at least a decade and are considered to be at a moderate stage in the progression of the disease.
Stem cell Storage
This study shows off the incredible power of stem cells and how they can be used in medicine. Already stem cells can be used in the treatment of over 80 conditions worldwide with trials like these further exploring the potential of these little cells.
Embryonic stem cells often come with some stigma but there are stem cells available that avoid any ethical issues. These are bone marrow and cord blood stem cells. Bone marrow or adult stem cells are collected for transplants when a donor is found. If you want to protect your child and possibly other family members, you could also store their cord blood stem cell.
Cord blood stem cell collection is a non-invasive procedure that is 100% safe for both mother and baby. The procedure is also compatible with delayed and optimal cord clamping. The blood collected is whatever is left over one the cord is cut, and the placenta has been delivered. The amazing source of powerful stem cells is otherwise thrown away as medical waste.
If you are curious about cord blood banking, get your FREE parent guide today.
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