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Human induced pluripotent stem cells "hot" topic among researchers focused on regenerative medicine.

Neurons from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) used to treat rats with Parkinson's Disease (PD) provided promising results for scientists at the Buck Institute for Age Research.
 
Researchers used human iPSCs derived from skin and blood cells and manipulated them to become dopamine-producing neurons.  Dopamine, a neurotransmitter produced in the mid-brain, aids critical functions, including motor skills.

Those suffering from PD are unable to produce enough dopamine in their bodies.  PD affects 1.5 million Americans and results in tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement.

The findings at the Buck Institute can be used to manufacture the type of neurons needed to treat the disease and makes way for the use of iPSC's in various biomedical applications, that's according to a release issued by the Institute and a paper authored by the team in the August edition of Stem Cells journal.

"These cells are reprogrammed from existing cells and represent a promising unlimited source for generating patient-specific cells for biomedical research and personalized medicine," said the lead author of the study, Xianmin Zeng, Ph.D. "Human iPSCs may provide an end-run around immuno-rejection issues surrounding the use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to treat disease. They may also solve bioethical issues surrounding hESCs."

The team of scientists transplanted iPSC-derived neurons into rats that had mid-brain injury similar to that found in human PD. The cells became functional and the rats showed improvement in their motor skills.

"The studies are very encouraging for potential cell therapies for Parkinson's disease," said  President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Alan Trounson, Ph.D. "The researchers showed they could produce quantities of dopaminergic neurons necessary to improve the behavior of a rodent model of PD. We look forward to further work that could bring closer a new treatment for such a debilitating disease." 




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