Parkinson’s disease is a well recognized name for a disease that millions are suffering from, including some well known people such as actor Michael J. Fox. Many people have heard of the disease and may know of a friend or family member of a friend or family member that is suffering but so many of us don’t know what actually causes the disease. To understand how stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease could benefit those suffering with it, you must understand what causes the disease.
Parkinson’s disease is the result of dopamine producing cells in the brain degenerating. When these cells don’t work the way they are supposed to, Parkinson’s disease develops, along with the symptoms that the disease is perhaps most well known for such as impairing a patients motor skills, speech, writing and other functions. It can be a catastrophic diagnosis because it is usually progressive and degenerative, totally changing the course of a patient’s life.
The hopes of those who are suffering with Parkinson’s disease have long been supported by the possibility of stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease that would be available to the masses. The purpose of the stem cells would be to replace diseased or dead cells with new healthy ones. The stem cells would be programmed to form cells that are needed specifically for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease or the area of the brain where Parkinson’s disease is causing damage.
Through research into stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease it has been found that there are two specific genes that will play a critical part in the formation of cerebral dopamine cells, which would be those that are damaged by the disease. These genes have been found by Johan Ericson and Thomas Perlmann at Karolinksa Institute and are known as Lmx1a and Msx1.
Clinical trials have proven that stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease do work. Not only does it stop the progress of the disease, it actually reverses it, giving patients back the abilities that they have long since lost. Many different clinical trials are underway and all of them are reporting great successes that give patients, researchers and doctors the hope that they are well on their way to curing Parkinson’s disease so that another generation doesn’t know what suffering with this disease is like.
Of course, much of the holdback associated with stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease being made available to the masses is the controversy that has been ongoing. There are some that believe that the use of stem cells just isn’t morally correct and as such, government funding has ceased. Hopefully, this controversy can be cleared up in the near future so that Parkinson’s disease will soon be a disease of the past