Along with the developments in the treatment of the disease of cancer, scientists are also developing brain cells in the laboratory. These cells will be used against the Parkinson's disease in the near future. Scientists are using stem cells to develop new tissues and organs which will be used in treating the disease.
Parkinson's disease is a very common disease especially in West. It effects the people who are 65 years old or above. The common cause of this disease is the loss of nerve cells or dopamine which produces nerve cells. Due to the occurrence of this disease, an individual suffers from severe tremors, his body becomes rigid and he feels difficult to walk or even move.
Parkinson's disease and Stem Cells:-
Transplantation of stem cells has given hope to the patients of Parkinson's disease because scientists have great knowledge of the nerve cells and know how to transplant them. They have also been doing experiments on animals with this disease and observing the results of the transplanted stem cells.
The recent studies of Parkinson's disease in rats have given hope to the scientists. They observed that when the transplanted stem cells subjected in the rat's brain, the damaged nerve cells or nerve cells producing dopamine immediately started producing healthy nerve cells. The scientists also observed the immediate decrease in the symptoms of the disease. When the brain of the rat was scanned, it revealed that the stem cells adjusted with the surroundings and had started producing dopamine. These results have given the scientists a hope that one day they might use the transplanted stem cells to treat Parkinson's disease in humans also.
Dopamine is a nerve signaling chemical which is produced by neurons. If these cells get damaged, symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear. The previous studies showed that if transplanted stem cells inserted in the brain, they can possibly produce dopamine but if undifferentiated stem cells are inserted into the brain then there is no evidence that these cells will cause benefit or damage to the brain.
Parkinson's disease and Gene Therapy:-
In the gene therapy, different viruses are used which carry the desired genes. These genes then increase the production of dopamine in the brain and they also repair the damaged brain cells. Genetically modified viruses are used which deliver the desired genes into the brain and it carries special growth factors which promote the growth of dopamine. Some scientists have also experimented that if the viruses are inserted into the brain with special enzyme, they can improve the production of levodopa.
Another study has shown that if a gene for 1-amino acid decarboxylase is subjected to the brain cells, it causes the conversion of levodopa to dopamine. Viral vectors are used for this purpose which insert this gene into neurons and enable them to convert levodopa to dopamine. This insertion enables the damaged nerve cells to repair themselves and they also reduce the need for any drugs.
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