Researchers believe that they have found an effective way to treat/ reverse Parkinson’s disease. At the moment, treatment is available for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. However, treatment that is currently available alleviates the symptoms rather than stops Parkinson’s disease from progressing further.
Due to brain cells dying, individuals with Parkinson’s disease lack dopamine (an essential brain chemical). Despite extensive research, it is not known what exactly kills the brain cells, however, the loss of these cells is considered to leave individuals with devastating consequences, such as difficulty in walking and moving.
Parkinson’s disease has affected more than 4.6 million people around the world. This number is likely to double by 2030. Scientists have been working hard in order to stop the above number from doubling as the population ages.
One of the most effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease is Levodopa (a treatment that increases Dopamine levels). However, this treatment, like many others that are available, does not stop Parkinson’s disease from progressing completely, and therefore, the researchers have been investigating ways to treat Parkinson’s disease.
It is believed that by injecting new brain cells into the brain, the damaged Dopamine can be replaced. So far the scientists have been able to produce cells that have a similar appearance to Dopamine (although it was not a perfect match). The treatment in question appeared to have worked when given to mice.
Dr Patrick Lewis has said: “This could potentially offer a game-changing therapy for Parkinson's. However, moving from this study to doing the same in humans will be a huge challenge."
Prof David Dexter of Parkinson's UK said: "Further development of this technique is now needed. If successful, it would turn this approach into a viable therapy that could improve the lives of people with Parkinson's and, ultimately, lead to the cure that millions are waiting for."
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