Stem Cell Research and Parkinsons Disease

Stem cell research is controversial by nature, but it could produce helpful consequences for Parkinsons sufferers. A recent study in carried in Stem Cells Journal has indicated that tissue from placentas are packed with a assortment of cells carrying the potential of being able to treat many different diseases.

The outer membrane of the placenta, known as the amnion, holds cells that are similar in nature to embryonic stem cells; the two share two key genes in common that allow them the unique ability to develop into any kind of specialized cell.

The results of this study further showed that under the proper laboratory conditions these amnion epithelial cells could be used to create liver, pancreas, nerve and heart cells. The newly created nerve cells could be used to help Parkinsons patients with their symptoms.

It is thought that a comprehensive study of stem cells could provide insights into how the bodys tissues develop and grow as well as what causes diseases to infect certain organs and why some people are more susceptible than others.

There are a number of different kinds of stem cells but it is believed that the controversial embryonic stem cells (taken from the tissue of embryos that ate generally four or five days old and laboratory created) are the most useful in treating Parkinsons disease because these types of stem cells are pluripotent. What this means is that they have the unique capacity to, as previously mentioned, evolve into almost any kind of cell in the human body that is required of them.

More research must be done into amnion-derived cells, but according to a recent U.S. census there are more than 4 million babies born each year. Researchers theorize that for every placenta that is thrown away, there are somewhere in the area of 300 million amniotic epithelial cells that could potentially be developed in such a way that they could create between 10 and 60 billion cells.

Stem cell therapy is a very involved process that is about so much more than just transplanting cells. In order for stem cell therapy to be a success those undertaking it must have a thorough understanding of how the whole process works and must have a clear cut idea of what it is hoped to be accomplished by undertaking the therapy.

Five steps are involved from start to finish. First of all, the problems must be clearly defined. In Parkinsons disease the desire is to replace the defunct dopamine nerve cells with healthy functioning ones. Next, it is important to find the most appropriate stem cells for the jobs. There are four choices and these include blastocyst embryonic stem cells, fetal stem cells, umbilical cord blood cells and adult stem cells.

Moving right along, step three is matching the appropriate stem cells with the recipient of the transplant. Just as organ transplants are a risk and need to be a perfect match, so do stem cell transplants. The fourth step is putting the stem cells into the damaged tissue by way of surgery. Finally, step five is monitoring the transplanted stem cells to make sure they are performing (and continue to perform) their desired function to the best of their ability.