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Parkinson's patient can swim again after stem cell transplant


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Scientists have helped a man with Parkinson's swim, ski and tie his own shoes again.

Team took the skin cells of a 69-year-old patient and reprogrammed to pluripotent stem cells.

The stem cells were tweaked to become dopaminergic neurons.

First grafted on to lab mice brains and looked for signs of immune system response.

Implanting technique developed involves a syringe to insert the cells into his brain.

The patient struggled with tremors, problems with his posture, and fine motor control.

At 18- and 24-month post-surgeries, no adverse effects or decline in function observed.

He was able to reduce the drugs he was taking to replace dopamine by 6 percent.

Patient just stabilized, Parkinson's still remains an incurable disease.

Team is working with the FDA to move a Phase 1 clinical trial study.

Research by team from McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Published in New England Journal of Medicine.

Study and procedure represent a milestone in personalized medicine for Parkinson's

Mentioned in this article:

Click on resource name for more details.

American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA)

Grassroots advocacy organization for sufferers of Parkinson's

Bob Carter

Chief of Neurosurgery at MGH

David Dexter

Associate Research Director, Parkinson’s UK


Ensuring safety of drugs, medical supplies and food which is used daily.

George Lopez

Internist, Businessman

Harvard Medical School

Graduate medical school of Harvard University

Jeffrey Schweitzer

Neurosurgeon, MGH

Kwang-Soo Kim

South Korean neuroscientist, McLean Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

Largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School located in Boston

McLean Hospital

Psychiatric hospital, affiliate of Harvard Medical School

Parkinson's UK

Parkinson's research and support charity

The New England Journal of Medicine

Scientific Journal devoted to medical research.

Todd Herrington

Neurologist, MGH