The improvement was called “a small but hopeful step,” but had the improvement in monkeys with Parkinson’s been the result of the infusion of embryonic stem cells rather than adult stem cells, it would been trumpeted all over the front pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times.
But, be that as it may….
In the issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation published Monday, researchers led by Takuya Hayashi at the RIKEN Center for Molecular Imaging Science in Kobe, Japan, used stem cells harvested from the monkeys’ own bone marrow and found that while not cured, the macaques did demonstrate improved motor skill function.
Parkinson’s “is caused by loss of the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine (known as dopaminergic neurons),” the Los Angeles Times’ Eryn Brown reported. The suggestion is that the stem cells from bone marrow treatment might someday be used in treating humans suffering from Parkinson’s disease, which is characterized by tremors and loss of balance, among other seriously debilitating symptoms.