Cell Replacement Therapy for Parkinson's Disease

How Close Are We to the Clinic?

Javier Ganz; Nirit Lev; Eldad Melamed; Daniel Offen


Expert Rev Neurother. 2011;11(9):1325-1339. 

In This Article

Five-year View

Cell replacement therapy carries great potential for future medicine and it is expected that this strategy could aid in treating many devastating illnesses. With the fast growing technological breakthroughs and the physiological dissection of both stem cell and DA neuron developmental pathways, it is hoped that CRT in PD could reach clinical use in 5 years time. Currently, two clinical trials of CRT for PD have started and these will probably produce guidelines for future strategies in this long awaited field. More sophisticated cells with higher differentiation efficiencies and better safety will be generated from different stem cell niches and IPSs. Tissue engineering developments may contribute to the graft cell procedures, enhancing survival and promoting cell protection against a hostile diseased environment. Environment-modifying therapies will be developed, probably through the cotransplantation of trophic cells that could improve the cellular milieu, enhancing the function and establishment of the new implanted graft. Cell engineering might also contribute to CRT, developing a dopamine secreting cell, where secretion could be regulated trough inducible mechanisms. This could alleviate some of the graft-induced secondary effects produced by focally and constitutive secretion of dopamine. On the other hand, the great promise of regenerative medicine and the excitement of the stem cell research field has generated huge hope and expectations for PD patients, creating an economic opportunity in which scientists and clinicians must nurture countries' public administration policy makers.