Associate professor Agnete Kirkeby met Parkinson’s disease patients
In a lecture for Parkinson’s Disease patient organization (Parkinsonforeningen, Sjælland) in Solrød, January 18, 2018, DanStem associate professor Agnete Kirkeby talked about the latest scientific discoveries to treat diseases using stem cell therapy in general, and in Parkinson’s disease in particular
Over 60 Parkinson’s Disease patients and their relatives attended this seminar organized by Parkinson’s Disease patient organization (Parkinsonforeningen, Sjælland).
The first part of the talk was about stem cells in general; on the differences between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells, and how the different stem cell types can be used in the clinic to treat diseases. The second part of the talk was specifically about using stem cells for cell replacement therapy in Parkinson’s Disease, focusing both on previous trials with human fetal human tissue and on the future perspectives of using human embryonic stem cells in Parkinson’s Disease.
Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine. Parkinson’s disease symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there are currently no disease-modifying treatments available.The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are caused by the loss of a specific type of dopaminergic nerve cell in the midbrain of patients, and stem cells offer the potential to replace these dying cells with new functioning nerve cells.
The work of Agnete Kirkeby and Malin Parmar from Lund University has resulted in significant advances in producing functional dopaminergic nerve cells from stem cells in the lab. These cells have shown remarkable capability of reverting motor symptoms in rat models of Parkinson’s Disease when transplanted to the brains of the animals. Based on these promising results, the cells are currently being prepared to be produced under clinically compatible conditions for a first-in-human clinical trial.