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J Neural Transm Suppl. 2003;(65):215-27.

Stereotaxic intrastriatal implantation of human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells attached to gelatin microcarriers: a potential new cell therapy for Parkinson's disease.

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Department of Neurology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Human retinal pigment epithelial (hRPE) cells are dopaminergic support cells in the neural retina. Stereotaxic intrastriatal implantation of hRPE cells attached to gelatin microcarriers (Spheramine) in rodent and non-human primate models of Parkinson's disease (PD) produces long term amelioration of motor and behavioral deficits, with histological and PET evidence of cell survival without immunosuppression. Long-term safety in cynomologous monkeys has also been demonstrated. Six H&Y stage III/IV PD patients were enrolled in a one-year, open-label, single center study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Spheramine (approximately 325,000 cells) implanted in the most affected post-commissural putamen. All patients tolerated the implantation of Spheramine well and demonstrated improvement. At 6, 9, and 12 months post-operatively, the mean UPDRS-Motor score "off", the primary outcome measure, improved 33%, (n = 6), 42% (n = 6), and 48% (n = 3), respectively. No "off-state" dyskinesias have been observed. Based on these preliminary results, Spheramine appears to show promise in treating late stage PD patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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