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Stem Cell Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease: A Novel Hope

Medical scientists have been making continued efforts in stem cell research for years to develop a safe and effective cell-based therapy for Parkinson’s disease. As per the database of the National Institute of Health, a trusted source, Parkinson’s affects 1% of older adults aged 60 years or above in developed nations. This neurological disorder has taken a toll on the quality of elderly individuals by impacting the functioning of the brain.


This article attempts to bring to light the therapeutic innovation in treating Parkinson’s disease using stem cells, its potential benefits, effectiveness, and results of clinical trials. So, let’s dive into the details!


Parkinson’s Disease – A Brief Overview

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder that causes damage or death of neurons in specific regions of the brain, impacting the patient’s motor function. Dopamine is a hormone that acts as a messenger and facilitates interactions between nerve cells. This neurotransmitter is produced in the brain by specialized cells and is responsible for primary body functions like movement, memory, speaking, writing, and sleep.


In Parkinson’s disease, the dopamine-producing cells die or get damaged, decreasing dopamine levels. The ability of the brain to send signals to other parts of the body declines, and it loses control over movement, coordination, speech, etc.


A decrease in dopamine level can lead to the following symptoms in a patient –

  • Tremors or uncontrollable shaking in the arms, hands, or legs
  • Stiffness or rigidity in muscles
  • Difficulty in coordination, balance, and walking
  • Bradykinesia or slowness in movements
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty in writing
  • Decreased memory power and lack of concentration
  • Irregularity in sleep patterns
  • Bladder and bowel movement problems
  • Dyskinesia or abnormal involuntary movements


About Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease is, indeed, a novel hope because, for ages, there was no cure for this progressive condition. However, researchers and scientists have been researching stem cells and their therapeutic potential in relieving PD patients in the past few years.

Although it remains inconclusive whether cell-based therapy is a definitive cure for PD, research suggests it can help treat PD and significantly slow the progression of the symptoms, improving the patient’s quality of life.

Read on to learn more about the process of stem cell therapy and how it treats PD.

What is stem cell therapy?

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells used for preparing regenerative medicine for treating severe medical conditions like Parkinson’s disease. These cells are natural resources found in the human body that can differentiate and develop any cell type to meet your body’s needs.

Sources of stem cells for collection

Cells used in therapy are either collected from donors or the patient’s body to treat a disease. The primary sources are bone marrow, fat tissue, hip bone, and umbilical cord tissue.

Human umbilical cord tissue is considered an excellent source of mesenchymal stem cells because of their ease of collection and abundance supply. Furthermore, pluripotent cells can self-renew and regenerate cells of any type, such as nerve, muscle, bone, joint, skin, and blood cells. The distinct properties of cord tissue-derived stem cells make them ideal for treating Parkinson’s disease.


Related Read: Stem Cell Basics: What They Are And How Do They Work


Science Behind Stem Cells In Treating Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease causes the death of neurons or nerve cells in parts of the brain, and stem cells replace those cells, halting the progression of the disease. Although researchers are studying various approaches to utilizing stem cells for treating PD, the current approach revolves around delivering undifferentiated cells into the affected areas.


The newly introduced stem cells differentiate and transform into dopamine-producing cells on reaching the target area, thereby replacing the dead neurons. Hence, it can increase the level of dopamine and restore the proper functioning of the brain.


Clinical studies on animal models suggest that stem cells have the potential to provide an infinite supply of dopaminergic neurons that are essential in transmitting signals to nerve cells and enabling physical functions.


The three precise mechanisms based on which mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exert therapeutic effects in reducing symptoms of neurological diseases, including PD, appear to be:


  • First, mesenchymal stem cells produce neurotrophic growth factors that improve the survival rates of neuronal cells.
  • Second, MSCs aid in the healing of damaged tissues and regenerate healthy nerve cells to replace dead neurons.
  • Third, they are rich in immunomodulatory properties that strongly regulate the immune system and prevent neuroinflammation.


Effectiveness of Stem Cell Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease

Initial preclinical and clinical studies on stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease indicate exciting results. However, stem cell research is still in its exploratory stage and more study is required to determine the long-term efficacy of stem cells in treating PD.


The considerable improvements that patients experience after receiving cellular therapy are:


  • Improved motor function – The repair or replacement of damaged dopaminergic neurons by stem cells helps alleviate the symptoms of PD. It enhances motor behavior, stimulates nerve cell activities, and allows the brain to have better control of voluntary movements.
  • Suppress inflammation – Stem cells are rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are the primary triggers for Parkinson’s disease in older individuals.
  • Regulates immune system – Stem cells help in immune response modulation and stabilize the condition of PD, potentially extending remission or reducing the signs and symptoms of the disease.
  • Relief from tremors – After the therapy, there have been marked improvements in patients regarding reduced tremors and uncontrolled shaking of arms or legs.
  • Improvement in gait – Introducing stem cells into affected parts of the brain stimulates the growth of dopamine-producing cells which helps in improving body movements and better coordination.
  • Postural stability – Most patients receiving stem cells report notable enhancement in posture balance and reduction in rigidity or stiffness in muscles.
  • Reduces Dyskinesia – Abnormal or involuntary movements are one of the distressing symptoms of PD, which stem cells can reduce and help patients get relief.
  • Improvement in speech and writing – Gradually, patients are seen to have better control and power over the jaw and hands, consequently improving speech and writing capabilities.


Clinical Trials And Research Showing Promising Results

Preliminary efficacy data on PD patients indicates that 85% have shown sustained improvement in their motor function and overall condition. Three months after the treatment, there is a noticeable reduction in symptoms and increased stamina or energy levels, strength, coordination, balance, memory, and vision. Another trial revealed a subjective improvement in facial expression, speech capabilities, and gait and decreased freezing episodes.


Multiple studies on animal models and clinical trials on small human groups have been performed to understand the long-term effectiveness of stem cell therapy. So far, the two remarkable results concluded from those studies – improvement in neuron function and stopping the disease progression. Stem cells provide relief to PD patients by alleviating their symptoms by regulating the production of dopamine.


The Journal of Translational Medicine 2019 reported a study in which the human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells were introduced in 10 patients in phase I and IIa clinical trials. The study results show that all the patients experienced a reduction in their PD symptoms and remarkable improvement in motor function.


Although the safety and efficacy of stem cell-based treatments are backed by substantial evidence from scientific studies and reports, patients must seek medical advice from a healthcare professional before getting the treatment.


Read Also: Stem Cell Therapy: A Game-changer For Diabetes Patients


Is Stem Cell Treatment Safe?

Mesenchymal stem cells are used in hundreds of clinical trials, both animal models and humans, because they have an excellent safety profile. The therapy is, therefore, considered safe by scientists and healthcare professionals worldwide.


All the studies indicate no severe or adverse events in patients after stem cell administration. However, it should be ensured that proper treatment protocols and safety procedures are followed during the therapy.


Life Altering Stem Cell Therapy Institute is a trusted, renowned name for stem cell therapy in Mexico that ensures the highest safety standards in all its procedures. At our clinic, a thorough evaluation of the patient’s current condition, disease severity, and medical history is necessary to determine eligibility and approval for the therapy.


Final Takeaway

Medical experts believe that stem cell therapy is a promising alternative to existing treatments of Parkinson’s disease, such as deep brain stimulation and medications (like dopamine-promoter, anti-tremor, cognitive-enhancer, and anti-depressants). These alternatives have long-term side effects and can impact the quality of life.

Stem cells have the power to naturally increase the level of dopamine in the brain by replacing or repairing damaged nerve cells. The stem cells transform and regenerate dopaminergic neurons and use their innate healing capabilities to improve motor function and reduce tremors, thereby eliminating other symptoms of PD.

Want to know whether you are an ideal candidate for stem cell therapy? Book a consultation and connect with the experienced medical team of Mexico’s best stem cell center. Get rid of Parkinson’s disease and restart your journey toward healthier living with the help of stem cells.

Lead a healthier life with our advanced stem cell therapy.