The researchers have successfully injected stem cells in the brain of a 64 years old man from the state of Victoria as part of an experimental treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The researchers claimed it as the first of its kind in the world.
So far there is no drug developed to stop the progression of Parkinson’s, which affects 80 thousand people of Australia. The researchers at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said that because the stem cells were created in the laboratory, the ethical dilemmas in its usage could be avoided.
Usually the surgical treatment for Parkinson’s is deep brain stimulation, in which the neurosurgeon drills a hole into the skull of the patient and put a cable separating the brain into two parts. According to the neurosurgeon at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Garish Nair, in the recent trial, millions of stem cells were injected into 14 sites in the patient’s brain.
According to him, the challenge in this operation was how to shorten the time needed to put the instrument in the brain, in order to minimize the damage. “So we have to plan a new methodology to do it. I think we have to do three or four experiments before we are sure we are right,” he said.
Garish said it was expected that the stem cells will increase the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
Garish added this experiment would also avoid the ethical dilemma involved in the use of stem cells as it used the nerve cells produced in a laboratory by a biotech company in California.