Cell-Based Therapy Shows Promise In Parkinson's Patients
A novel cell therapy using retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells attached to tiny gelatin bead microcarriers implanted in the brain can improve the symptoms of patients with moderate to advanced Parkinson's disease (PD).
Rush University Medical Center neurosurgeon Dr. Roy A. E. Bakay and colleagues from Emory University, Atlanta found the therapy Spheramine was well-tolerated and patients experienced improvement in Parkinsonian symptoms (tremor, rigidity, slowness of movements, and impaired balance and coordination.) These findings were presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Chicago on April 28, 2008.
The pilot study was initiated at Emory University Hospital and followed six patients with moderate to advanced PD to investigate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of the Spheramine implantation. The full patient group has been evaluated for four years, and several have been monitored for six years. Bakay and colleagues report long-term improvement or stabilization of symptoms, maintained for a minimum of two years after Spheramine implantation.