NYSCF Innovator Describes Potential Cell Replacement Strategy for Parkinson’s Disease
The traditional cell replacement therapy model relies on manufacturing the relevant cell type in the lab and injecting or replacing these cells into the patient, curing or treating their disease. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus and NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize recipient Dr. Marius Wernig and his team at Stanford University explored a new method of potential cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease in their latest Nature Biotechnology paper. The researchers explored directly converting astrocytes, a different type of brain cell, into the dopaminergic neurons lost in Parkinson’s disease. Testing their theory in a dish using human cells, and in a mouse model directly, the scientists found that this approach is theoretically possible, including improvements seen in the mouse models.
This type of research represents a potential breakthrough in cell replacement therapies, introducing a technique in which cell replacement may be achieved through gene therapy instead of whole cell replacement.